Nihad Sirees was born in the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo (Halab) in 1950. His literary interests date from childhood when he wrote one-act plays that were presented at school. He has a Masters in civil engineering and ran a private engineering office in Aleppo. His first novels were published in the 1980s and he gained a reputation as a realist in his writings which reflect the environment in Aleppo and the lives of the middle class, as well as political, historical and social issues.
He has written 7 novels and a number of plays, TV drama series and children’s dramas. His novel The North Winds, which deals with the First World War and the the blossoming of Syrian national consciousness at that time, was described by critics as one of the most important historical novels in Syria.
He is also recognized for his original approach to television drama with the widely screened series The Silk Market, set in the political turmoil of the 1950s and 60s and which presented the environment, culture and dialect of Aleppo for the first time in Syrian television drama. This highly acclaimed television series was praised for its realism, courageousness and dramatic suspense. It is still being telecast on satellite channels and it was translated for screening in English, Farsi (Iran) and German. His work also includes a TV series about the Arab-American writer Kahlil Gibran which was screened in 2008 in countries around the Middle East.
His novel The Silence and the Roar, banned in Syria, has been published in German and French and most recently was published in English in early 2013 by Pushkin Press in the UK and Other Press in the USA. It is also being translated into a number of other languages.
Branded an opponent of the Syrian Government, after increasing surveillance and pressure from the Syrian government, Nihad Sirees left Syria for Egypt in early 2012 and now lives in Berlin, Germany. Upcoming: March-April 2015 (6 weeks) guest at Writers Retreat Santa Maddalena, Tuscany, Italy
2014 The Silence and the Roar published in translation in Dutch ,Czech and Italian, currently being translated for publication in Turkish (earlier published in English, French and German)
April 2014 guest at book fair, People of the Mediterranean, Vernon, France 4-6 April
January 2014 Writer in Residence, Dutch Literature Foundation, Amsterdam; guest at Writers Unlimited Festival, Amsterdam, 16-19 January
November 2013 – The Silence and the Roar listed in Top 10 books for 2013 by US Publishers Weekly magazine
June 2013 – Winner German Coburg-Ruckert prize for a work in translation, The Silence and the Roar (Ali Hassan's Intrigue)
October 2012-May 2013 – Visiting Writer 2012-13, International Writers Project, Brown University, Rhode Island, US.
April 2013 – Guest speaker at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, UAE (24-29 April 2013)
March 2013 – Launch of US edition of novel Silence and the Roar (publisher Other Press, New York)
January 2013 – Launch of English language edition of novel The Silence and the Roar in London (publisher Pushkin Press, London).
November 2012 – Recipient of an English PEN Award for outstanding writing in translation for the novel, The Silence and the Roar.
September 2012 – Launch of French language edition of novel The Silence and the Roar (Silence et Tumulte) in Paris (publisher Robert Laffont)
May 2012 – Promotional tour for paperback German language edition of novel The Silence and the Roar (Ali Hassan's Intrigue) Switzerland, Germany & Austria (publisher Lenos)
May 2012 – Guest speaker at Solothurner writers festival, Switzerland
August 2011 – Visiting speaker, University of Siena, Tuscan, Italy
August 2008 – German language edition of novel The Silence and the Roar (Ali Hassan's Intrigue) launched at Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany
January-May 2006 – Writer in residence and guest tutor in screenwriting, University of Maryland, USA
September-November 2005 – Participant, International Writers Program (IWP), University of Iowa, USA