Hamid Ismailov was born into a deeply religious Uzbek family of Mullahs, Sayids, and Khodjas living in Kyrgyzstan, many of whom had lost their lives during the persecution of the Stalin era. Yet he received an exemplary Soviet education, graduating with distinction from both his secondary school and military college, as well as attaining university degrees in a number of disciplines. Though he could have become a high-flying Soviet or post-Soviet apparatchik, instead his fate led him to become a dissident writer and poet residing in the West. He is now the BBC World Service’s first Writer-in-Residence. Critics have compared his books like The Railway, A Poet and Bin-Laden, and The Dead Lake to the best of Russian classics, Sufi parables and works of Western post-modernism. While his writing reflects all of these and many other strands, it is his unique intercultural experience that excites and draws the reader into his world. Critics have compared his books like The Railway, A Poet and Bin-Laden, The Dead Lake, and The Underground to the best of Russian classics, Sufi parables and works of Western post-modernism.