Born in Baghdad in August 1984, Hawra Al Nadawi immigrated in 1992 with her family to Denmark, where she grew up. She published her first novel, Under Copenhagen Skies, in 2010, and it was longlisted for the IPAF, making her the only woman nominated for the prize that year. Her second novel, Qismet, was published in 2017. Both novels deal with matters of identity and alienation, which are major themes in her works. Critics have noted her skill at fusing poetic Arabic language with a Western novel structure, perhaps the result of her multicultural life. Cultural diversity was essential in her upbringing and education, as she was homeschooled in Arabic by her Arab and Kurdish parents, alongside her education in Danish schools. She studied linguistics and English literature and is fluent in four languages, in addition to three other languages with intermediate proficiency; yet she’s particularly interested in the oriental languages and their literature.
She is also known for her articles and essays, which cover a range of topics, from feminism to integration in European societies, in addition to dealing with politics, literature and mental health.