Kader Abdolah (a pen name created in memoriam to friends who died under persecution by the current Iranian regime) was born in Iran in 1954. While a student of physics in Tehran, he joined a secret leftist party that fought against the dictatorship of the shah and the subsequent dictatorship of the ayatollahs. Abdolah wrote for an illegal journal and clandestinely published two books in Iran.
In 1988, at the invitation of the United Nations, he arrived in the Netherlands as a political refugee. Kader Abdolah now writes in Dutch and is the author of several novels, including My Father's Notebook (also published by Canongate) and two collections of short stories, as well as works of non-fiction.