Afghan author Qais Akbar Omar to give Atwood Lecture

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Afghan author Qais Akbar Omar will discuss his memoir “A Fort of Nine Towers” at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall. Part of the Atwood Lecture Series, his presentation is open to the Salve Regina community and the general public.

Omar’s early years coincided with one of the most violent decades in Afghan history: civil war, the rise of the Taliban and the arrival of international troops in 2001. Named for the place his parents first sought shelter from war, “A Fort of Nine Towers” tells the story of his family and their long journey through terror, loss, heartbreak and sudden moments of joy.

“Few outsiders really know about our deeply held personal values that are rooted in our families, customs, pride, honesty and the obligation to decency that is instilled in the heart of Afghans from earliest childhood,” Omar says. “I want them to understand how someone like me came of age, getting what formal education I could when schools were open, and teaching myself what I needed to survive.”

In addition to writing, Omar manages his family’s carpet business in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has served as a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado, studied business at Brandeis University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing at Boston University. Omar has lectured on Afghan carpets in Afghanistan, Europe and the United States and coauthored “Shakespeare in Kabul” with Stephen Landrigan.

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