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Tamim Ansary biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

Tamim Ansary
Photo: Martin Klimek

Tamim Ansary

How to pronounce Tamim Ansary: tuh-MEEM un-saw-REE

Tamim Ansary Biography

Ansary grew up in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. He was named after Tamim-i-Ansar, one of two brothers who conquered Afghanistan for Islam 1200 years ago and who now lie buried in matching 12-foot-long marble tombs atop a hill overlooking the artists and poets cemetery. Ansary’s father taught science and literature at Kabul University, and his American mother taught English at the first girls’ school in Afghanistan. His relatives lived throughout the city and in the nearby grape-growing village of Deh Yahya.

Then the family moved to Lashkargah, a small town in the middle of the desert in southwestern Afghanistan, the headquarters of a vast American-funded project to make the desert bloom.

In 1964, Ansary got a scholarship to an American high school, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, and moved to America. Six years later he graduated with honors from Reed College and soon thereafter plunged into the sixties counterculture like a dog into surf; he wrote for an “alternative” weekly called The Portland Scribe, lived in communes, worked in restaurants, wrote obscure, experimental fiction, and quit his job often in order to hit the road and have adventures.

In 1980, Ansary traveled through North Africa and Turkey to explore Islam and found Islamism instead. It took him 14 years of working as a textbook editor for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich to recover from the shock. After 9/11, however, he hit the road again, this time to visit Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and to make a journey to Kabul. After that, he took a long nap.

A regular columnist for Microsoft’s learning site Encarta.com, Ansary has written nonfiction books for children, jokes for a mathematics program (“edutainment” software), a literary memoir, several novels for “reluctant readers,” a series of educational comic books called Adventures Plus, countless letters to friends, and one two-line play.

His commentary has been heard on the Bill Moyers Show, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Hardball, and numerous National Public Radio stations.

Partial Bibliography

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (May 2009)
West of Kabul, East of New York (2002, memoir)
The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi with Tamim Ansary

Biography from the author's website Aug 2009

Tamim Ansary's website

This bio was last updated on 10/17/2016. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Books by this Author

Books by Tamim Ansary at BookBrowse
The Invention of Yesterday jacket The Other Side of the Sky jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Tamim Ansary but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Edwidge Danticat

    Edwidge Danticat

    Since the publication of her debut work Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994, Edwidge Danticat has won praise as one of America's brightest, most graceful and vibrant young writers. In this novel, and in her National Book ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Other Side of the Sky

    Try:
    Breath, Eyes, Memory
    by Edwidge Danticat

  • Khaled Hosseini

    Khaled Hosseini

    Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and History at a large high school in Kabul. In 1970, the Foreign Ministry ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Other Side of the Sky

    Try:
    The Kite Runner
    by Khaled Hosseini

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