Who is Judit Neurink?

Judit Neurink is...

a Dutch author and journalist who has a special relationship with the Middle East, and especially with Iraq. As the Middle East editor for the Dutch newspaper Trouw she was able to visit many of the countries in her region, often together with her then Moroccan-Dutch husband Ali Lazrak, who was a journalist and radio maker.

Her first visit to Iraq, after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, was life changing. In 2008 she settled in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to set up and lead a media centre, The Independent Media Centre in Kurdistan (IMCK) in Sulaymaniya. After five years, she went back to full time reporting and moved to the capital of Kurdistan, Erbil. She worked as a correspondent for Dutch and Belgian media and a number of international websites. She stayed in Iraq for over a decade.

She started writing fiction when she was still a teenager. Every week, she sent a new episode to a pen friend. She still holds on to those carefully-typed sheets of paper about a young girl who lands herself into a job in the music industry. But her first book that was published, some thirty years later, was non-fiction about an Iranian sect with the title Misled Martyrs.

Since then she has published several books, both fiction and non-fiction. Due to her journalistic background and her time working in Iraq, more books pertaining to the latter have been published. At the same time, her novels are always based on reality and the stories are usually located in Iraq. For her novel The Good Terrorist for instance, which is based on true-life stories from the Caliphate, she collected stories when she reported on the rule of the Islamic terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the war against it. Yet all the characters are the result of her fantasy and somehow are mainly Western – so the reader can easily identify with them.

After leaving Iraq in 2019, Neurink settled in Greece. She lives with her two Siamese cats in Athens but continues to travel to Iraq and the Middle East.

She has published nine books in Dutch, and so far eight of her books have been published in English.

The picture is taken at Babylon, at the site of the palaces of the old Sumerian and Assyrian Kings in Iraq.