Qais Akbar Omar

Qais Akbar Omar

Qais Akbar Omar manages his family’s carpet business in Kabul and writes books. In 2007, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado. He has studied business at Brandeis University and is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Boston University. Omar has lectured on Afghan carpets in Afghanistan, Europe, and the United States. He is the author of A Fort of Nine Towers and coauthor, with Stephen Landrigan, of Shakespeare in Kabul.


Dear reader: a letter about carpet weaving and writing

Dear reader: a letter about carpet weaving and writing

My name is Qais Akbar Omar. I am an Afghan, a Muslim, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, a carpet maker, a journalist, a boxer who has enjoyed breaking many noses, and “Qais, the Cruel Kite Cutter.” I just turned 30 years old, and am the author of A Fort of Nine Towers.

A life in maps

As they fled war, sought food and tried to stay together, Qais Akbar Omar and his family travelled all around Afghanistan. In these maps and passages from A Fort of Nine Towers, you can see his home and the paths of his family's journeys.

Photo essay: A Fort of Nine Towers

Photo essay: A Fort of Nine Towers

Author Qais Akbar Omar has selected the pictures that best capture the places and people in his book, A Fort of Nine Towers. He takes us from the fort itself across the stunning countryside of Afghanistan, via monuments destroyed in wars and thriving markets. 

Growing up in Afghanistan

Growing up in Afghanistan

Listen to Qais Akbar Omar talking about his childhood in an Afghanistan dominated by war but infused with poetry.

5th December: Qais Akbar Omar on what gives him nightmares

Qais Akbar Omar was born in 1982. He is a gifted linguist who trained as a journalist and as a translator for the US military and the UN. A Fort of Nine Towers, which will be published by Picador in June 2013, was written in English and will be translated all over the world. 

He's chosen some fantastic books as his favourites, but his answer to the question, 'What gives you nightmares?' casts everything else into the shadows.