Murad Kalam Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Murad Kalam  

Harward-Trained Lawyer and Novelist

Murad Kalam was born in Seattle, WA, to a Jamaican immigrant doctor and an American journalist in 1973.

He grew up in Phoenix, AZ, and later attended Harvard College. There, he majored in English and set his sights on fiction, publishing his first short story, "You Ask Me What Hip-Hop Is" in the Harvard Advocate and studying with Jamaica Kincaid. In his junior year, inspired by the literary power of the Qu'ran, he converted to Islam. His chosen name, Murad Kalam, means "desire of the pen."

After college, Kalam returned to Phoenix to complete a novel about a young boxer growing up in South Phoenix. In 1999, he attended Harvard Law School. During law school, he excerpted portions of his novel in a short story entitled "Bow Down" in Harper's, which later won an O. Henry Award in 2001.

After law school, Kalam traveled to Cairo on a Fulbright Scholarship to research a novel about the Muslim world. He has been a frequent contributor to National Public Radio and his first novel, "Night Journey," was published in October 2003.


• Literature and Terror: In the Shadow of Sayyid Qutb

• Searching for Malcolm X

• The Crisis of Democracy in the Muslim World: Personal Reflections

Related Speakers View all

More like Murad