Sherko Bekas was born in Iraqi Kurdistan, son of the poet Fayaq Bekas, and published his first book when he was 17. He joined the Kurdish liberation movement in 1965 and worked in the movement's radio station (the Voice of Kurdistan). In 1986, he left his homeland because of political pressure from the Iraqi regime and from 1987 to 1992, he lived in exile in Sweden where Butterfly Valley was printed in January 1991, around the time of the first Gulf War. Shortly afterwards, following the uprisings in the Kurdish and the Shiite regions in March 1991 Bekas was able to retrun to Iraqi Kurdistan. He died of cancer in Stockholm, Sweden on 4 August 2013.