Hassan Blasim

Hassan Blasim (b. 1973) is an Iraqi writer, poet, and filmmaker who is currently living in Helsinki, Finland. Born in Baghdad, he studied at the city’s Academy of Cinematic Arts where two of his screenplays won the Academy’s Festival Prize for Best Work. In 1998 he was advised by his tutors to leave Baghdad, since the political and critical nature of his films was drawing attention from Saddam’s informants at the Academy. After fleeing and travelling through Europe as a refugee, he settled in Finland in 2004. His debut collection of short stories, The Madman of Freedom Square (Comma Press, 2009), was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His second collection, The Iraqi Christ (Comma Press, 2013), won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2014.

Blasim’s writing has been translated into over 20 languages to date. He has been described by the Guardian as “perhaps the greatest writer of Arab fiction alive”. His debut novel, Allah99, was published in 2020.

Prizes and nominations

2019: Winner of the WSOY Literary Foundation Prize
2015: Winner of the Finland Prize
2014: The Corpse Exhibition won Publisher’s Weekly‘s Book of the Year Prize
2014: The Iraqi Christ won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
2013: The Madman of Freedom Square won The Tampere Literature Prize
2012: The Iraqi Christ won the Writers in Translation (English PEN) Prize
2010: The Madman of Freedom Square was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
2010: The Madman of Freedom Square was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Prize
2009: The Madman of Freedom Square won the Writers in Translation (English PEN) Prize

Works