Hassan Blasim is an Iraqi writer currently based in Finland. Born in Baghdad in 1973, he studied at the city's Academy of Cinematic Arts, where two of his films ‘Gardenia’ (screenplay & director) and ‘White Clay’ (screenplay) won the Academy's Festival Award for Best Work in their respective years. In 1998, after several arrests, he was advised by his tutors to leave Baghdad - the overtly political and critical nature of his films was drawing attention from Saddam's informants at the Academy. He fled and ultimately in 2004, after years of travelling illegally through Europe as a refugee, he settled in Finland. Hassan's stories first appeared on the website iraqstory.com, which he co-edited, and then first in print, with the anthology Madinah (commissioned by Comma Press in 2008). His debut collection The Madman of Freedom Square was published by Comma a year later, 2009 (translated by Jonathan Wright) and was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His second collection, The Iraqi Christ (again translated by Jonathan Wright) was published by Comma in April 2013, and won the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize - the first Arabic title and the first short story collection ever to win the award. Hassan's work has been translated into over 20 languages.