The Girl From Baghdad
Michelle Nouri was born in Prague but grew up in vibrant pre-war Baghdad. Her privileged Iraqi childhood was like a fable; full of sun and games with her sisters and cousins in the crowded house of Bibi, matriarch of the powerful Nouri family. As a young girl, Michelle didn't fully understand the tensions between East and West that existed in her upbringing - Muslim ceremonies, Christian friends, Communist restrictions, private ballet classes and overseas trips. Her adolescence complicated things as family tradition dictated she should marry a cousin. She resisted - and instead found herself flirting with Uday Hussein, Saddam's eldest son. He invited her into a seductive world of tennis matches and moonlit concerts. But then, without warning, her privileged world imploded. The idyllic city of her childhood was devastated by war, and her father deserted his family to take a second wife. Michelle, her mother and sisters were abandoned and left impoverished. In desperation, they fled to Czechoslovakia, and embarked on a painful and emotional journey between cultures - Arabic, Communist and Western.
Michelle Nouri was born in Prague and was raised in Baghdad. Her family lived through the Iraq-Iran conflict. In 1988 her mother and sisters fled to Prague after her father abandoned them. In 1991, at age eighteen Michelle moved to Italy seeking a better life. After learning Italian, Michelle built a successful career in the Italian media, working in both television and print, covering the lives and issues of immigrants in Italy. She also interviews politicians, writers, cultural gurus and sports figures. Michelle appeared as a commentator on a number of international television programs during the American conflict with Iraq. La Ragazza di Baghdad is her first book (Rizzoli 2007). Michelle's story has attracted plenty of Italian media coverage (print, TV, radio and online). The sequel Il Cammino delle Foglie di T (The Journey of the Tea Leaves) was published by Rizzoli in January 2010.