MTSU alumnus returns to read from recent novel on ...

MTSU alumnus returns to read from recent novel on Kurdish experience

Physician, author and MTSU alumnus Dr. Zaid Brifkani will hold a free public reading from his recently published novel, “The Mountains We Carry,” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the MT Center in the Sam Ingram Building, 2269 Middle Tennessee Blvd.

Brifkani grew up in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq and migrated to Nashville, Tennessee, in his teenage years. After receiving his undergraduate degree in 2003 from MTSU (where, he began writing short stories), he went on to Ross University where he obtained his medical degree, specializing in kidney diseases and transplant nephrology. He now has a private practice, Kidney Care Clinic, in Cookeville, Tennessee. 

Dr. Zaid Brifkani, alumnus, author
Dr. Zaid Brifkani
Dr. Allen Hibbard, Department of English faculty and director, Middle East Center
Dr. Allen Hibbard

“The Mountains We Carry,” Brifkani’s first novel published this past year, is a riveting, powerful story of the harrowing, tragic experiences of a Kurdish family during the years of Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s, ending in Nashville in 2016. This story of brutality, fear, and uncertainty speaks more broadly to the experiences of the Kurdish people during this period. 

“We witnessed families disappear around us,” said Brifkani. “Experiencing this as a child, that memory stuck with me as I encountered many of the victims later in Nashville, and it inspired me to write the book.” 

Middle East Center logo

“Brifkani has said that ‘medicine starts with the core value of being human and ends with the ultimate goal of service to humanity,’” said Allen Hibbard, English professor and director of the Middle East Center at MTSU. “The same could be said of his literary work. It will be a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Brifkani back to campus and celebrate his achievements and his success.”

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The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the English Department and the Middle East Center, with valued support from the Virginia Peck Trust Fund.

For more information, email Hibbard at or call 615-494-8809.