Jabbar Yassin Hussein

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Jabbar Yassin Hussein was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1954. He grew up in a laicised and politically left-wing environment. After the Ba’ath Party took over power in 1968 (with Saddam Hussein as head of the ministry for state security), he joined the Communist Party at the age of 14. He was arrested and tortured several times while still at school because of his political activities, which included holding the chair of the young communists of Baghdad. He withdrew his membership in 1973, when the Communist Party was taken over by the Ba’ath Party. From then on he was under constant observation by Saddam Hussein’s regime.
He was a student at the University of Baghdad and worked as a journalist for a short period but was not allowed to continue either his studies or his journalistic work. Instead, he wrote novellas, short stories and fairy stories for children. In 1976 he was threatened with further arrest, and had to flee the country for France. There, together with others in exile he founded the magazine ´Aswat´ (t: The Voice), a publication which took a critical stance on Saddam Hussein. As well as short stories, Jabbar Yassin Hussin also writes articles for various newspapers and magazines.

His texts are primarily concerned with the traumatic experience of exile, the loss of home and identity. "I wrote so as to remember what I had left behind." He works in Arabic – both a conscious and an emotional decision, as his power of expression in his native language was relativised by the dominance of the exile language French.

His books have been published in France since the early 90’s and include ´Adieu, l’enfant´ (1996), a very personal approach to the stories and memories of his childhood. His stories ´Le lecteur de Bagdad. Contes et nouvelles´ (2000) and ´Histoires de jour, contes de nuit´ (2003) recall his life in his home country. Published the same year, ´Paroles d’argiles – Un Irakien en exile´ is a collection of articles, commentaries and speeches on the current situation in Iraq that were originally printed in the Arabic press. His texts have been translated into eight European languages. Jabbar Yassin Hussin had lived near La Rochelle in France since 1992. After 27 years in French exile, Jabbar Yassin Hussein returned to Baghdad in May 2003.
Author: International Festival of Literature Berlin (ilb)

Works

Paroles d´argile

Published Written,
2003
Atelier du Gué: Villelongue d´Aude

Histoires de jour, contes de nuit

Established,
2002
Atelier du Gué: Villelongue d´Aude

Le Lecteur de Bagdad

Published Written,
2000
Atelier du Gué: Villelongue d´Aude

Yémen-Détours

Published Written,
2000
L´Esprit des Péninsules: Paris

Adieu l´enfant

Published Written,
1996
Atelier du Gué: Villelongue d´Aude

Un Ciel assombri d´étoiles

Published Written,
1993
Atelier du Gué: Villelongue d´Aude

Aux Rives de la folie

Published Written,
1991
L´Harmattan: Paris

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International Festival of Literature Berlin