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Hisham Matar's Biography

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Hisham Matar was born in New York in November 1970 and spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo before moving to Britain.

His father, who at one stage worked for the Libyan mission to the UN, was an intellectual and businessman, who eventually left Libya in 1979 and then became open in his opposition to the regime.

Hisham Matar studied architecture at Goldsmith's College and in 1990 whilst Hisham was a student, his father was kidnapped, taken back to Tripoli, imprisoned and tortured.

Matar's father smuggled letters out from Abu Saleem jail until 1995, since when there has been no communication.

His father is not the only one close to Hisham Matar to suffer at the hands of the Libyan authorities. Matar told the Guardian:

"I know so many people in Libya who are in prison - three cousins and an uncle, friends who have been killed, hanged by the neck."

In the Country of Men is Hisham Matar's first novel.

Although authors on the 2006 Booker shortlist are inexperienced compared to previous years, In The Country of Men is the only debut novel.

Trevor Lewis wrote in his review of In the Country of Men:

"Matar's novel shares themes with Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Michael Frayn’s Spies, and can hold its head high in such singular company."

Hisham Matar is working on another novel, which will be set in Cairo and London.

Hisham is married to American-born photographer Diana Matar.

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