Best known for his novels The Kite Runner, a Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini is a best-selling author born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965. At that time, Kabul was considered a thriving, cosmopolitan city. His father worked as a diplomat and his mother as a teacher. The family were living in Paris for his father’s work when at the time of the Saur Revolution in 1978, when the Soviet-backed communists took control in a coup and established a violent and authoritarian rule.
His family were unable to return to Afghanistan and sought asylum in the US and moved to California in 1980, where Khaled and his siblings started high school with little English. After finishing high school in 1984, he attended Santa Clara University before earning a degree in medicine from the University of California in 1993. Hosseini would later become a naturalised US citizen and spent 10 years practicing medicine.
It was not until 2003 that Hosseini published his first novel, The Kite Runner, which would go on to be an international best seller. Along with his following novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), And the Mountains Echoed (2013), Hosseini tells his stories through the past thirty years of conflict in Afghanistan. From the collapse of the monarchy in 1973, the Soviet invasion and the following Taliban rule, the lives of Hosseini’s characters are upended by the country’s wars and the invasions of foreign forces. Drawing on his family’s experiences, Hosseini’s stories bring to life the lived experiences of ordinary people and their friendships, families and culture when violence and oppression crash in to their lives. The Kite Runner was a best selling novel and was later adapted in to a film, stage productions and graphic novels.
Khaled Hosseini joined the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2006 where he travelled to Afghanistan to promote humanitarian assistance. Since his return visit to his home country, the author established the Khaled Hosseini Foundation which aims to build homes for refugee returnees. He has since published Sea Prayer, a short illustrated story inspired by the tragic death of the Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. Sea Prayer was dedicated to the refugees who have died while making the dangerous journey to Europe, and proceeds donated to the UNHCR and the Khaled Hosseini Foundation.