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Khaled Hosseini (born March 4, 1965) is an Afghan-American novelist and physician.
He went back to "an arranged marriage" after graduating from college, a predicament that he disliked. He has written three books, most notably his 2003 debut The Kite Runner, which is at least partially set in Afghanistan and feature an Afghan as the protagonist.
After the success of The Kite Runner, he switched from medicine to writing full time. Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan.
His father worked as a diplomat, and the family immigrated to France when Hosseini was 11 years old; four years later, they applied for asylum in the United States, where he later became a citizen.
Hosseini did not return to Afghanistan until the age of 36, where he "felt like a tourist in [his] own country."
In interviews about the situation, he confessed to occasionally feeling survivor's guilt for being able to leave the country before the Soviet invasion and subsequent wars. All three of his books became best-selling authors in New York City, with four of them reaching the top of the charts, with four of them on the top of the charts.
For 103 weeks, A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) was a Times Best Seller for 103 weeks, 15 at number one.
The Mountains Echoed (2013) debuted near the top of the Times list and remained on it for 33 weeks until January 2014.
Early life and education
Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, on March 4, 1965, the eldest of five children. Nasser's father served as a diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul while his mother worked as a Persian language tutor at a girls' high school; both of whom hail from Herat. "I'm not pure nothing" in terms of his ethnicity, Hosseini said. "A Pashtun part of me, a Tajik part of me," says the author. His mother's family is thought to be from the Mohammadzai tribe of Pashtuns. Hosseini's upbringing is described as wealthy. He spent eight years of his life in Kabul's upper-class Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood. Hosseini does not recall his sister, Raya, ever being discriminated for because of being a female, and he remembers Kabul as "a burgeoning, flourishing, cosmopolitan city" where he used to fly kites with his cousins.
Hosseini and his family immigrated to Iran, where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973, Hosseini's family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini's youngest brother was born in July of that year. When Hosseini was 11 years old, his father found a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan as a result of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) seized power in April 1978. They migrated to the United States in 1980, shortly after the start of the Soviet-Afghan War, and settled in San Jose, California. When he first arrived in the United States, Hosseini, then 15 years old, did not speak English. He describes the experience as "a culture shock" and "very alienating."Despite being far from the country's turmoil, the family was aware of the problems faced by a variety of their friends and relatives.
In 1984, Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in biology. He obtained his M.D. degree from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in the following year. In 1993, a pioneering nation introduced the first television broadcast in the United States. In 1997, he completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He practiced medicine for over ten years before releasing The Kite Runner a year and a half after it was announced.
Hosseini and his partner have two children. The family lives in Northern California. He is fluent in Persian and Pashto, and has referred to himself as a secular Muslim. Hosseini revealed on social media that his 21-year-old boy had come out as a transgender in July 2022.
Hosseini's first book, The Kite Runner, was released in 2003, the story of a young boy, Amir, who is trying to develop a deeper connection with his father and dealing with the aftermath of a horrific childhood experience. The novel is set in Afghanistan, from the fall of the monarchy to the Taliban's demise, as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically Fremont, California. According to Nielsen BookScan, the novel was the best-selling book of 2005 in the United States. The Kite Runner was also published as an audiobook read by the author. The Kite Runner has been turned into a film of the same name that was released in December 2007. When Amir buys a kite that he later flies with Sohrab, Hosseini makes a cameo appearance near the end of the film as a bystander.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini's second book, was published in 2007, and it's also set in Afghanistan. The novel explores several of the same topics as Hosseini's first book but from a female perspective. When Mariam's husband takes on Laila as a second wife, it follows the lives of two women, Mariam and Laila, whose lives become intertwined. The tale takes place during Afghanistan's turbulent thirty-year transition from Soviet occupation to Taliban rule and rebuilding. Riverhead Books published the book on May 22, 2007, at the same time as the Simon & Schuster audiobook. Producer Scott Rudin and Columbia Pictures followed the novel's adaptation rights.On May 21, 2013, Hosseini's third book And the Mountains Echoed was published.
Prior to its release, Hosseini said:
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, he has been working in Afghanistan to provide humanitarian assistance. The foundation's design was inspired by Hosseini's visit to Afghanistan in 2007 with the UNHCR, with the group gaining funds to install homes for refugees returning to Afghanistan.
Sea Prayer, a three-year old immigrant who drowned while trying to reach Europe from Syria, was published in 2018 by Hosseini. Proceeds from sales went to the UNHCR and the Khaled Hosseini Foundation.