portrait of Choman Hardi

Choman Hardi

Born in Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1974, Choman Hardi is is a poet, translator and painter. In 1975 her family fled to Iran after the Algiers Accord but returned to Iraq after a general amnesty in 1979. They were forced to move again in 1988 during the Anfal campaign.

Choman arrived in United Kingdom in 1993 as a refugee and studied psychology and philosophy at Oxford and University College London. She did her PhD at the University of Kent, focusing on the effects of forced migration on the lives of Kurdish women from Iraq and Iran.

Choman has published three volumes of poetry in Kurdish. Her first collection of English poems, Life for Us, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2004.

A former chairperson of Exiled Writers Ink! she has organized creative writing workshops for the British Council in UK, Belgium, Czech Republic and India. Choman was the poet in residence at Moniack Mhor, Scotland's National Writing Centre, in 2004. She was awarded a Jerwood/Arvon Young Poet's Apprenticeship. In June 2007, an exhibition of her paintings was held at the Hawth Arts Centre in Sussex County. 

With Mimi Khalvati, Choman co-translated the Kurdish poet, Kajal Ahmed, for the PTC's World Poets' Tour in 2008.

Choman's poetry has been widely anthologised, and four of her poems have been studied by GCSE students since 2010. Her poems were recorded for the Poetry Archive in 2010. In 2006 she became one of the youngest poets featured by the ‘Poems on the Underground’ programme.

For her post-doctoral research she was awarded a two year Study Abroad Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust to carry out research into women survivors of genocide in Iraqi Kurdistan; during this time she was a visiting scholar at the Uppsala Program for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The resulting book, Gendered Experiences of Genocide, Anfal survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq, was published by Ashgate in 2011 and selected by the Yankee Book Peddler as a UK Core Title.

In 2012 and along with Najiba Mahmud and Bayan Salman she founded the first professional and indpendent feminist journal in Kurdish, Serdemi Jin (Women’s Era) of which she is Editor in Chief.

Choman is currently working as an independent writer and researcher. She lives in Munich.

Poems translated by Choman Hardi