Advanced Search

Search Stories


Subjects A to Z

Advanced Search

Exile on Main Street

Iraqi schoolteacher and novelist Mahmoud Saeed, arrested numerous times by former dictator Saddam Hussein, recalls the harrowing months he spent in prison in his book, Saddam City.

Translated into English by Lake Forest College sociology professor Ahmad Sadri, Saddam City was penned in the early 1980s as a "condemnation of all dictators and all tyrants wherever they are."

Saeed's novel depicts the fear and despair of Baghdad schoolteacher Mustafa Ali Noman as he is shuttled from prison to prison. The senselessness of his arrest and the torture he and other prisoners endure drive Mustafa to see Hussein's Iraq as a place where "being free only meant one thing: imminent arrest."

After fleeing Iraq in 1985, Saeed had to leave his family behind in the United Arab Emirates to live as a political refugee in the United States.

Related Links

Read the poetry of B.J. Elsner paired with the photography of Jewel Gwaltney.

Visit the publishers of challenging literature at the Unit for Contemporary Literature and Fiction Collective Two.

Explore video/image gallery

Related Video

Click to view video

 View Video Clip

Find out how Mahmoud Saeed's book, Saddam City came to be translated into English.


Related Images

Click to view image

view image View Larger Image

Author and Iraqi refugee Mahmoud Saeed

Click to view image

view image View Larger Image

Lake Forest College professor and translator, Ahmad Sadri.

Click to view image

view image View Larger Image

Saeed and Sadri together.


Thanks To Our Sponsors
Contact Us Site Map Pressroom WTTW Digital Archives Production Services Corporate Sponsorship PBS 98.7WFMT

Privacy Policy & Terms of Use

©2016 WWCI

WTTW Arts - View Story ImageWTTW Arts - Select Your BandwidthWTTW Arts - View Story ExcerptWTTW Arts - Listen to Audio ClipAdvanced SearchStory DetailContact UsSite MapPressroomWTTW Digital ArchivesProduction ServicesCorporate SponsorshipHomeSchedulesProgramsWTTW KidsWTTW ArtsWTTW EventsSupport WTTWAbout UsMembers OnlyGeoffrey Baer Tours - Seven Wonders of ChicagoArchitect Robert A.M. Stern: Presence of the PastArchitect Michael Graves: A Grand TourArchitect Thomas Beeby10 Buildings that Changed AmericaCatholicismProhibitionAmerican Graduate