NEWPORT, R.I. – Afghan author Qais Akbar Omar will discuss his new memoir “A Fort of Nine Towers” on Monday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. in Bazarsky Lecture Hall, located in O’Hare Academic Center on Ochre Point Avenue. Part of the university’s Atwood Lecture Series, his presentation is free and open to the 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.
“Omar and his family spend most of the book desperately searching for a way out of Afghanistan; they have finally raised the money for a smuggler when the twin towers fall,” writes New York Times book reviewer Mythili Rao. Through the American airstrikes on the Taliban, Omar’s family resolves to discover who from inside their own country is causing such strife. “Overcome with love for his homeland, Omar too ultimately pledges to stay so he can help rebuild the country,” Rao writes.
“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.