4 Sep 2018

Khaled Hosseini on Sea Prayer: ‘I wanted to highlight this unimaginable despair, unfathomable desperation’


They were unforgettable images which came to symbolise the unbearable agony of those who risked everything in search of sanctuary, and those who did not make it.

The photographs of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach three years ago, are the story of Syria’s tragedy. And for the novelist Khaled Hosseini, there was only one way to make sense of it – by travelling to the camps to meet asylum seekers and writing about it.

The best-selling author of The Kite Runner has now written an illustrated novella, Sea Prayer, told from the point of view of a father as he waits to make the dangerous sea crossing with his son. We went to meet him.

A warning: there are some distressing images.