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Sherko Bekas (Iraqi Kurdistan)

Sherko Bekas (in Kurdish: ?êrko Bêkes) was born on 2 May 1940 in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, the son of the Kurdish poet Fayak Bekas. In 1965, Bekas joined the Kurdish liberation movement and worked in the movement's radio station, The Voice of Kurdistan. He left his homeland because of political pressure from the Iraqi regime in 1986 and from 1987 to 1992, he lived in exile in Sweden. In 1992, he returned to Iraqi Kurdistan.

Bekas was a major poetic voice in Iraqi Kurdistan, being one of the first poets to break with the traditional rules of Kurdish poetry. Not only did he dispense with rhyme and introduce a new element known as 'Rûwange' (vision), but he also created the 'poster poem' in 1975. A two-volume collection of his complete poetic works in Kurdish was published in Sweden in 1990 / 1992.

Bekas' works have been translated into Arabic, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Italian, French and English. In 1987, he was awarded the Tucholsky Scholarship of the Stockholm PEN Club and in the same year the Freedom of the City of Florence.

He died of cancer in Stockholm, Sweden on 4 August 2013.