Khaled Hosseini

in Conversation with Book Passage’s Elaine Petrocelli

Recorded April 18th, 2020

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Khaled Hosseini in conversation with Book Passage’s Elaine Petrocelli
Saturday, April 18, 2020

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Khaled Hosseini is speaking live with Book Passage’s Elaine Petrocelli, Saturday, April 18, 2020
In March 2001, while practicing medicine, Khaled Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, which was published by Riverhead Books in 2003. That debut went on to launch one of the biggest literary careers of our time. Today, Khaled is one of the most recognized and bestselling authors in the world. His books, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed, have been published in over seventy countries and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
In 2006 Khaled was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Inspired by a trip he made to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, he later established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…”

– The Kite Runner

In 2003, Khaled released his first novel, The Kite Runner, the story of a young boy, Amir, struggling to establish a closer rapport with his father and coping with memories of a haunting childhood event. The novel is set in Afghanistan, from the fall of the monarchy until the collapse of the Taliban regime, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically in Fremont, California. The novel was the number one best seller for 2005 in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan. The Kite Runner was also produced as an audiobook read by the author. The Kite Runner has been adapted into a film of the same name released in December 2007. Khaled made a cameo appearance towards the end of the movie as a bystander when Amir buys a kite which he later flies with Sohrab.
Khaled’s second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was published in 2007, and is also set in Afghanistan. The story addresses many of the same issues as his first, but takes a more feminine perspective. It follows the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, whose lives become entwined. The story is set during Afghanistan’s tumultuous thirty-year transition from Soviet occupation to Taliban control and post-Taliban rebuilding. The novel was released by Riverhead Books on May 22, 2007, at the same time as the Simon & Schuster audiobook. Movie rights have been acquired by producer Scott Rudin and Columbia Pictures.
Khaled’s third novel And the Mountains Echoed was released on May 21, 2013.

Visit the Book Passage website to have any of Khaled’s books delivered right to your door.

You’re sure to enjoy these Book Passage favorites:

Sea Prayer

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The Kite Runner

kite

And the Mountains Echoed

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A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Get ready to join Khaled in conversation, Saturday, April 18.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation:

Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any of the ones that match your own interests.
Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

  • 17

    votes

    Do you have any new project in hand I mean are you writing any novel now?

  • 15

    votes

    When you sit down to write a book, how much of the story do you know going in? Please take us through your process.

  • 15

    votes

    What advice would you give someone in a different career path that would like to pursue writing?

  • 14

    votes

    Your stories are masterfully crafted, I was wondering what your process is to start your writing for a novel?

  • 14

    votes

    Do you ever imagine how things would have been for you today had you never left Afghanistan?

  • 13

    votes

    Why the topic of war and Afghanistan prevails in all of your books?- Is it the main source of inspiration, the awareness of national identity or something more than that?

  • 13

    votes

    Are you working on any new books? If yes, when can we expect it to come and if not which I hope is not the case, are you planning on anything any time soon?

  • 12

    votes

    What are you currently working on writing?

  • 12

    votes

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background and upbringing and what inspired you or what events in your life contributed to your thought process of writing and publishing “The Kite Runner”? Which is a great novel by the way!

  • 12

    votes

    Do you think that educating more young people in Afghanistan could help the country overcome internal issues?

  • 11

    votes

    When just starting out, what made you think you could write a novel?

  • 11

    votes

    What is your relationship like with your mother? Are there any significant female figures in your life that inspired the character of Mariam?

  • 10

    votes

    Which book was the easier to write and which was the hardest to write? And why?

  • 10

    votes

    How we can educate nations to fight against war and not to fall down in the trap?

  • 9

    votes

    Can you please tell us about your favourite authors and books?

  • 9

    votes

    Do you ever consider going back to work as a doctor? And please explain if you can.

  • 9

    votes

    If you could relate to any character the most, who would be and why?

  • 9

    votes

    how does your kids feel about the books you’ve written? are you reading anything? what’s your favourite book(s)? is there any book/quote/saying that changed the way you think?

  • 8

    votes

    What advice would you give to someone who has almost finished their first novel?

  • 7

    votes

    Are you writing a new novel?

  • 7

    votes

    Hello, What habits would you recommend a young person to follow in order to become a better writer ? And thank you for doing this

  • 7

    votes

    What are your thoughts on the play adaptation of “A Thousand Splendid Suns”?

  • 6

    votes

    And the Mountains Echoed is full of pain. What was the reason and the motivation of writing that excellent story?

  • 6

    votes

    Hassan is also traumatized in the “Kite Runner”. Thus, my question is: Did you make Amir’s trauma the main scope of the text to show that even in traumatic experiences, Pashtun had the right to express their emotions and thoughts more than the hazara as a result of the hierarchy in Afghanistan, with the domination of Pashtuns, and therefore Amir’s dominance over the narrative is an outcome of his ethnic group’s dominance over the social and political contexts in Afghanistan?

  • 6

    votes

    What advice would you give to young people on starting their own creative journey and how do you drag yourself out of writer’s slump?

  • 6

    votes

    IN THE KITE RUNNER, are the characters ans events real, do they exist, do you know them personally, or do you heard about.

  • 6

    votes

    What is your writing routine like? How many hours a day do you write?

  • 4

    votes

    My favourite book is And the Mountains Echoed which contains so many pain and emotional parts. Reading this beautiful novel, it always makes me cry. How could you endure this huge dose of sorrow during the writing process?

  • 4

    votes

    Thank you so much for this moving conversation; such a feeling of heart in all you write and as you speak and we so much need that sensibility now.

  • 3

    votes

    How difficult was it to write the scene where Mariam discovers her mom had hanged herself? I couldn’t stop crying knowing Mariam’s world was shattered by her father AND her mother.

  • 2

    votes

    What, in your opinion, are the components of a great novel, vs. a good one?

  • 2

    votes

    You studied medicine and were a practicing physician for many years. What made you decide to change career paths to writing?

  • 2

    votes

    You always support refugees, whether Syrian or Afghanistanian.. etc. Can you tell us about the most inspiring refugees you met at the camps.. and the ones you always think about them and their stories?
    Thank you for everything

  • 2

    votes

    How to deal with feeling like ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘ I am not good enough’ or ‘I am not young enough’

  • 1

    votes

    Your books are rich with the history of Afghanistan, and I have noticed that you don’t force your opinions about several events in history, that has divided a lot of Afghans. How difficult was it restraining from imputing your views about certain politicians? And why do you think that was important to you and to the readers?

  • 1

    votes

    My 10th grade students have just finished reading “The Kite Runner” this week during our online learning. We began the book together, but the students are finishing it on their own. It is such an impactful book that leaves feelings of frustration, wonder, joy, confusion, and every other existing feeling known to man. My students will be watching this as an assignment, so I was wondering if you had anything to say to someone who has just finished the book and might need some better “closure”. Many ask me how a book can be so painful and sad, yet be so amazing and thought-provoking and it’s amazing watching them go through the process of reading this story.

  • 1

    votes

    There is magic in your writing. You are a hero to refugees. You have made a big difference to the world. If I could make 1/1000th of the difference in the world, I will feel like I am achieved. What do you think about the position of women in Afghanistan? How much progress has there been and what can be done to work towards a better state for them?

  • 1

    votes

    Considering your background in humanitarian activism, what are your views on the global cultural implications of the Corona virus pandemic?
    What should be the cultural response to the post pandemic world from creatives?

  • 1

    votes

    In the book “A Thousand Splendid Suns” Mariam and Laila develop a mother daughter relationship, though Mariam doesn’t approve Rasheed marrying Laila at first. Also in the book “And The Mountains Echoed” Pari is often unhappy about Nila’s actions yet she is there for her when Nila needed her. Thalia, who appears from chapter 8 supports Markos to follow his dreams though he did not like her at first and thought her scar made her look unpleasant. But at the end when Markos suggests her to get a plastic surgery she refuses. What traits do you think these women develop through time so they become those powerful characters at the end of the book?

  • 1

    votes

    You have mentioned earlier that you suffer from survivor’s guilt. While your work reflects how deeply it has impacted you, I, and I’m sure all your admirers, would like to know how you have been or still are coping with it from the PoV of routine life, and how you raised Haris and Farah with that emotion in your heart. Deeply admire your work, awaiting more!

  • 1

    votes

    You are the one who knows every character of ‘The Kite Runner’ in a much better way than anyone of us. So what do you think Amir would have done, if even Rahim khan didn’t know that Hassan was Amir’s half brother? Or would Amir had gone take Sohrab if Hassan would not have been his half brother?

  • 1

    votes

    Some Asian and African writers really like to write about their cultural heritage in order to introduce the beautiful aspects of their native country. I think most of the people know about the war in Afghanistan, but they don’t know about the wonderful culture, cultural heritage and history. In your books, we can read about the Afghan culture from the viewpoints of your characters, but mostly from the modern era. Are you planning to write a book or a longer short story that concentrates only on the classical Afghan culture, arts, and traditions in order to show the readers what is behind the bad news?

  • 1

    votes

    Whenever I read from ur books, my eyes always soak with tears from emotions. How much effort do u put into ur writing to tell the story in such a thrilling way?

  • 1

    votes

    When writing fiction, how do you push yourself to authentically write through incredibly difficult scenes like what happens between Hassan and Assef in the alley?

  • 1

    votes

    Kite Runner, is among the best novels I’ve ever read. The craft, the story, the characters, dialogue, everything, was perfection. How did you learn to write that well and how heavily edited was this book?

  • 1

    votes

    Your characters feel very real and remain vivid long after you have finished the book. Do you spend time on character development or do they just grow naturally?

  • 1

    votes

    This is not a question, this is a request. Please write more books. After reading and re-reading your 3 books for the nth time, it drives me insane that there’s no more Khaled Hosseini books to read.

  • 1

    votes

    As a male author, how do you write from female perspectives (specifically in A Thousand Splendid Suns) so authentically and beautifully?

  • 1

    votes

    What are the most important things you consider before writing any book? What inspires you the most?
    P.S your novels are amazing, but it’s heartbreaking to read the stories of people suffering so much. Much love and more power to you😊

  • 1

    votes

    As a teacher of English literature and since I have been teaching The Kite Runner for three years and I cannot deny that personally I loved Hassan , yet I feel that the ending is somehow unfair! What makes Hassan able to forgiveAmir? How can I as a teacher justify the ending of Hassan to my students who felt disappointed about it and doesn’t achieve the poetic justice? Thank you for writing such a story! I always enjoy teaching it as it is my first time!

  • 1

    votes

    Have you ever faced any difficulties from Afghan government, people or organizations by reveling to the this shocking situation that happened/ happening even though through fictional characters?

  • 1

    votes

    Is there any Afghan writer whose work has been translated to English that you admire or recommend?

  • 1

    votes

    What inspired you to write A Thousand Splendid Suns. How relatable do you find the zeal and determination of the female characters in today’s times?

  • 1

    votes

    How do you feel after your accomplishment each day? How do you define/express your satisfaction after you write a chapter? Do you feel purposeful or alive?

  • 1

    votes

    There are many Dari or Pashto words or phrases in your fictions which are written in English. Did you intentionally use them for readers to explore Afghanistan rich culture and indigenous knowledge? Many thanks for your great work. I get very interested in Afghan culture after I read your books. Daisy Tang

  • 1

    votes

    Who are your inspirations (both past and present) and why?

  • 1

    votes

    How does it feel to be the creator of such strong stories. Did you ever cry during writing them because I think most of us readers definitely cried at point of the book or other?

  • 1

    votes

    As an Afgan reader, I found myself telling everyone not to read ” Kite Runner”, but after a while I accepted the fact written in that book. As a reader it was much difficult for me to accept it, how were you feeling while writing it?

  • 1

    votes

    The Kite Runner was a novel that explored such a wide spectrum of emotion. Loved discussing it with my class! I was curious as to why you chose not to end the novel at the point where Sohrab is rescued from the clutches of Assef, and where there is a measure of redemption in Amir’s face-off with Assef. Why did you choose to extend the narrative to include details like Sohrab’s attempted suicide and Kaka Sharif’s role in the adoption?

  • 0

    votes

    هزاران بار گریه کردم با جمله “هزاربار جانم فدایت”but i want to know how u showed leila and maryam feelings so very well although u are a man.do u helped from a woman?

  • 0

    votes

    I cried while reading your books. The fine details and beautifully crafted sentences in each of the book takes the reader to a journey with the characters. Although, your books are known as novels but they carry hidden truth within.
    For example, your description of the Khalq/Parcham era was so real, having personally experienced the tyrannies of that time, I felt the chilling horror, the pain and I pictured those sad memories when I read about incidents of that time. Are you going to write more about that perios as the young generation and the world need to know the truth. I believe, like many of us, you had to flee your homeland to save your life. Those incredibly harsh condition is not known to the younger generation, they do not know that during President Daud Afghanistan was a better place and the Communist oppression has given birth to today’s miseries. Best wishes

  • 0

    votes

    I’m wondering how you learned to write such good English. I’ve read your most important books and find them wonderful. I live in Argentine Patagonia, I’m a published poet and now I’m having a go at my “fictional” autobiography. Any advice would be very welcome. I know English thanks to my Mom, who spoke it to me when I was still in my cradle. Children learn grammar without being taught, it comes naturally to them. In Argentina we also speak Spanish. I’m looking forward to “meeting” you. Best wishes from Sylvia

  • 0

    votes

    سلام من در مورد این برنامه آگاهی ندارم فقط میخواهم با شما صحبت کنم در مورد بعضی نوشته ها
    اگر امکان دارد ایمیل یا دیگر آدرسی به من پیام بدهید