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Fiction writer Mahmud Altaie is Dec. Artist-in-Residence

December's Artist-in-Residence Mahmud Altaie, left, speaks with Tim Cassidy (NY Mills-based sculptor), and Regin Schwaen of Fargo (professor of architecture, NDSU) recently at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

The New York Mills Arts Retreat is pleased to announce the residency of Mahmud Altaie. He is an Iraqi novelist who has published 20 novels and short story collections. As a dissident under Saddam Hussein, he was imprisoned six times between 1963 and 1980. The English translation of his novel Saddam City relates to the story of these lengthy imprisonments.

Mr. Altaie currently lives in Chicago, and is enjoying the peaceful small town atmosphere of New York Mills while he writes.

While he is on retreat Mr. Altaie will interact with the community in several ways, including:

1. A presentation for fifth and sixth graders at the NYM school Dec. 16. He will give a short presentation about Mesopotamia and modern Iraq with photos, then he will take questions from the audience.

2. A reading at Borealis Books in Wadena on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. Readings of Mahmud Altaie's writing by local author Ralph Mayer, with Mahmud available for questions throughout the reading.

3. "Culture Exchange" presentation at Wadena's Harvest Thyme Bistro, Dec. 30 at 10 a.m. Mahmud will present his photos and share his information about Mesopotamia and his own experiences in Iraq. Come enjoy learning about Iraq from a native of this beautiful and culture rich country. The owners of the Harvest Thyme Bistro will prepare an Iraqi treat in addition to their fresh local breakfast and lunch selections. Call Harvest Thyme for current menu information at 218-632-5110.

Mahmud Altaie's retreat is made possible through the generous support of the Jerome Foundation, with the mission of supporting emerging artists and the creation of new artwork. For more information about the New York Mills Arts Retreat, contact Heather Cassidy, Arts Retreat Coordinator, 218-385-3339, at the Regional Cultural Center in New York Mills.