Interview in an Indian Magazine

Replies without Interview Questions

Some thing about me

I have written more than 20 novels and short story collections, including Port Saeed and Saddam City. Even before this collection one of my short stories won the award of “Iraq’s youth” newspaper in 1956. The first military Baathist Iraqi government seized two of my novels, “The Strike” and “An Old Case” in 1963. In 1963, the Baath Party overthrew the government and I was arrested. In addition, the government suspended me from my job as a high school teacher of Arabic literature for three years. One of which was a manuscript in the possession of the Iraqi Writers Union. The Iraqi authorities destroyed my novel, “An Old Question,” which was published and ready for distribution. After being released from prison I left Iraq and went to Morocco where I taught Arabic in high school. I returned to my country in 1967, but unfortunately the Baath Party soon came to power again.


In 1968, I wrote another novel and presented the manuscript to the Ministry of Information to be published, however, it was rejected because I refused to make more than 150 changes to the novel (it was later published in its original form in 1995 in Syria).


In 1970, I wrote another novel about my life in Morocco. Again, the Ministry of Information reviewed my novel and again they asked me to make changes to the novel. I refused once again and it was not published. However, it was published in 1985 in Cairo, Egypt and in Amman, Jordan. It was also published in Beirut, Lebanon for the fourth time 1997. One of my friends who had read the novel suggested that I enter it in an Iraqi literary contest. I thought that they would not accept the book because the Ministry of Information had rejected it, but he encouraged me because the people on the committee were neutral. I agreed. As it turned out, my novel won first place. When the government realized that it was I who had written the book, they refused to pay me the prize.


In 1980, I was rested again for the sixth time in my own country. At this time I saw more than 10,000 people in prison. All of them were innocent, at least in my opinion, so I wrote a fictional novel: I Am Who Was Seen. In this novel I recalled my experiences in the Iraqi prisons, and the torture employed by Iraqi security and other government departments. This book was published in Syria 15 years after I wrote it. The Syrian government censored two chapters. This book was published in English in 2003 by Saqi Books in London with a new name, Saddam City. It was also published in Italian language in 2005 by Prima Edzione Italiana. This book is one of the 50 best novels in the world by site (Library Thing). My novel, The End of the Day Light, was published in 1996 in Lebanon, and won the Story Club Award of Egypt.


In 1984, I left Iraq after being imprisoned unjustly on numerous occasions and also due to the banning of literature that I had written. Ironically, a novel that I wrote, “Zankat bin Barka- bin barka ally.” in 1970, won the Ministry of Information Award in 1993.

 I was only able to leave Iraq by bribing an official for a passport. I went to Dubai, U.A.E., and stayed there until 1999. Then, I came to the U.S.A. on July 2, 1999, and received political asylum shortly thereafter. My time in the U.S.A has been spent writing stories, newspaper articles, and novels. I also teach part time at DePaul University teaching calligraphy and Arabic literature.








My prizes:

1- First place award for short story contest in 1956, “The Ominous Gun,” from Al-Fata newspaper in Mosel, Iraq.
2-First place award for novel contest in Iraq (bin Barka ally) 1993

3- First place award for the Club Story Organization’s novel contest in Cairo, Egypt in 1996. “Did the War End?”

4- Sheikha Fatima’s award for children’s story, “A Woman’s Courage,” 1999, in Abu Dhabi.



  1. 1957— Port Saeed and Other Stories

Published in Baghdad, there was a copy at the public library. Unfortunately, no one knows who burned this library after the American occupation of Iraq.

  1. 1963— An Old Case

Published by the Iraqi Writer’s Union in Baghdad. Banned, then burned.

  1. 1963— The Strike

The manuscript was written in 1959, the government banned and burned it in1963.

  1. 1968— The Sound and the Rhythm

Published in 1995 by Almada House in Damascus, Syria.

  1. 1970— Bin Barka Ally ( Zankat Bin Barka.)

Published in 1993 by Dar Alkarmal in Amman, Jordon. Won the Best Iraqi Novel Award the same year. The second edition, by Dar Aladab in Beirut, Lebanon, came out in1996.

  1. 1981— I Am Who Was Seen

A fictional manuscript about Iraqi prisons. This novel was written under a pen name (Mustafa Ali Noman) because of my family in Iraq— I was afraid the government would punish them. Written in 1981, published by Almada House in 1995, Damascus, Syria.

  1. 1996— The End of the Daylight

Published by Alhiat House in Beirut, Lebanon. Won the First Place Award in Egypt, by Story Club, Cairo.

  1. 1997— The Birds of Love and War

Short-story collection, published by Dar Sina in Egypt, Cairo.

  1. 1999— The Beautiful Death

Published by Almada House, Damascus, Syria.

  1. 1999— Before the Love, After the Love

Published in Damascus, Syria.

  1. 2003— aldhalan>

Published in Arabic by Dar Aladab, Beirut, Lebanon.

  1. 2003— Saddam City.
    1. This novel is the English edition of I Am Who Was Seen, published at Dar As Saqi London, England. The publisher changed the title to Saddam City. (commercial publications.)
    2. This novel bee translated to Italian language 2005. (commercial publications)
  2. 2005 A Figure in Repose“Al Munsadeh” Short stories collections.
  3. 2005. Two lost souls. Chicago IL. In (English)
  4. 2006. I am Who Was Seen. Second edition. In Egypt. Dar Alhilal.
  5. 2006. The World in Angels Eyes “Al-Dunia fi Aayn al-Maleka”
  6. 2007. Jacob’s Daughters “Banaat Yagoob” 1st edition (Cyprus) 
  7. 2008. Jacob’s Daughters “Banaat Yagoob” 2nd edition (Amman – Jordan)
  8. 2008 Chicago trilogy. Egypt, three novels: Two Lost Souls. Asadora. Zitaa and Sadan.
  9. 2009. Soldier and Pigs. Short story collection in Amman, Jordan




**I received my first award for short stories in 1956 in Iraqi newspaper “Fata al Iraq”,

** I received an award from “Abu Dhabi- UAE” 1999 for children short stories.

**Another two works of fiction were lost during the period of 1970-1985. There are no manuscripts copies remaining.

** I have written five new fictional novels— all ready to publish in Arabic.

** I have published 7 articles in English, and 3 short-stories in English in Al Jadid Magazine.

** Also, I have published hundreds of articles in Arabic literary magazines and newspapers,


            Aljadid Magazine(Los Anglos) USA.

            F Magazine. Chicago. IL. USA

            Aladab Magazine (Beirut, Lebanon)

            Al Quds Newspaper (London, U.K.)

           Azzaman. Newsper(London, U.K.)

            Almada Magazine (Damascus, Syria)

            Almuntada Magazine (Dubai, U.A.E.)

            Al Ightrab Aladabi Magazine (London, U.K.)

            Al mawkif Aladabi Magazine (Damascus, Syria)

            Story Magazine/ Majalatu Al Qissa (London, U.K.)

            Al Rafid Magazine (Shrja, U.A.E.)

            Alkhalij Newspaper (Shrja, U.A.E.)

            Al Hyatt Newspaper (London, U.K.)

            Albaian Newspaper (Dubai, U.A.E.)

            Alitihad Newspaper (Abu Dabi, U.A.E.)

            And many others magazines and news papers.

            Nazwa (literature Magazine.) Oman.

            Al-Ightrab aladabi. London. UK.

            Sho,oon Adabia. Sharja. UAE

            Addustour newspaper. Amman. Jordan

            Aladib Almuasir. (Contemporary litterateur.) Damascus Syria.

            And many others.





About mahmoudsaeediraq

I am an Iraqi writer. I came to the USA in 1999, and I got politic asylum. Since that time I am living in Chicago, Illinois. I have written more than 20 novels and short story collections and hundreds of articles. Some of my novels were destroyed by Iraqi regimes. I have won awards in Iraq, Egypt and the United States. I also have won awards for short stories, one in Iraq and the second in UAE. I worked in Iraq as a high school teacher teaching Arabic literature. I was imprisoned six times between 1959 and 1980. I was dismissed from my job for three years, so I went to Morocco and I worked there as a high school teacher. I wrote about last time in prison as novel titled, "I am the one who saw." This novel was translated to English by Dr. Sadri (a professor of Lake Frost University) and published in Al Saqi house publishing company in London by the name of "Saddam City." The New York Public Libraries listed my novel as one of the best novels of the last century. Amnesty international chose 37 writers from all over the world, including me, to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We wrote short stories, and the collection was published in London, USA, Canada, Spain, and Turkey. It was translated in more than 20 languages. MAHMOUD SAEED, Chicago, Illinois
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