Personal photograph.

Who am I?

This is the part where you would normally read about the author narrated by a third person entity, who had been watching over him since his birth. In my case, however, I tend to do everything myself, from websites to book cover designs. I might not be famous enough for other writers to be interested in writing my biography for me, but I'd like to think it's about being a perfectionist.

 

My name is Abdulhadi Bushehri. I was born in Kuwait in 1988. I'm a daytime engineer and a part-time writer under the pen name: Kazeh. I intend to rescale that equation, but one has to make a living, yes?

 

For most of my life, I studied in government schools–Arabic schools that is, so I never had the luxury of picking up that sassy American accent.

We were taught to write 'I go to school by bus' in comprehensions even though none of us had actually used any buses. We learned a few songs about London burning and discovered that our name is Salem. We also heard about Abeer, but we never saw any until college. I consider myself and my generation lucky though; we were among the first to study English in elementary grade. Prior generations only learned that they go to school by bus at the age of ten.

 

I went under IQ tests set by the government during my elementary stage. Not like it was some secret government project for raising supernatural kids, but more of creating a special school for kids with big heads. After three years of going under tests, it was finally decided that I had passed the target IQ to get in. Yay me, right? Well, no. I had to go to school twice! A regular morning school with the muggles, and then an afternoon school with them brainiacs. Luckily, the whole project was terminated by the government a few years later.

 

I attended Farhan Al-Khalid High School. By then I had developed several hobbies, writing poems for one. As a teenager, it was my way of expressing myself; in my dictionary, a poem was 'to blow one's steam.' I never really shared my writings with anyone (except some family members and close friends when I felt super creative.) One day, the English teacher at my senior year, Mr. Mahmoud, asked our class for an oral presentation. That was the time I first went public with what I had considered a precious, private poem. When I had finished reciting, Mr. Mahmoud snatched the paper from my hand and hung it on the wall. I still don't know if he really liked it or he was just being supportive, but I do know that very act, as simple as it may sound, had shaken my core. A few weeks later, he called me to the teachers' office, and told me that something big had come up: Kuwait's first English poetry contest for high school students. It was on Hawally governorate level, but it was the first of its kind. Here's the thing: it included both public and private schools. Yes, them American tongues were entering the fray. I thought I had no chance, but I had Mr. Mahmoud and the whole English section rooting for me; the least I had to try. The image, so vividly clear in my memory, when the results were out and I was among the teachers searching through the papers for my name in the list. Anxiety levels were escalating as we couldn't find my name, until we looked up and found it at the top. To this hour I have not been hugged as many times as that day.

 

In 2008, I published my first book, The Throne. It introduced me to my English reading peers; a circle which I realized to be much larger than I had expected.

 

Things were much better the following year with Breeze of Eloquence. The book was published during the time of Kuwait's Book Fair, and I had partnered with Kuwait Bookshops.

 

In 2011, I published my first novel, Apathy Heavensmile.  It was the best-selling English book in the Book Fair that year.

So what am I doing since that time?

Good question.