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Visiting Author will perform a reading Dec. 17 at Borealis Bookstore in Wadena

New York Mills Arts Retreat is home to author Mahmud Saeed for the month of December. Saeed is enjoying the peaceful surroundings and lack of traffic congestion in New York Mills. While he is here he spends his days writing and his evenings at the various Cultural Center events like the Neal and Leadra Holiday Concert last week.

Saeed 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. Scores of critics consider his book Zanka Bin Baraka one of the best Arabic novels of the twentieth century.

Mahmud will share his knowledge of his native country of Iraq with the students at New York Mills elementary school during a presentation for the fifth- and sixth-graders Dec. 16. Mahmud will answer student questions about Iraq after his presentation.

He will also do a reading at Borealis Books at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 17. Local author Ralph Mayer will read the stories aloud. Mahmud's latest published work is a short story called "Warriors of the Sky in Freedom." All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Amnesty International.