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Former Iowa writer-in-residence Homeira Qaderi shares her harrowing escape from Afghanistan

In those final, desperate days, an Afghan writer says she was one of the last to leave Afghanistan.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks to writer, activist and educator Homeira Qaderi. She and her eight-year-old son were among the last Afghan refugees to fly out of the Kabul airport on a U.S. military transport at the end of August 2021. Also in this conversation, University of Iowa International Writing Program director Chris Merrill. He was involved with getting Homeira out and has been working to help other Afghan writers at risk leave the country.


  • Homeira Qaderi, Afghan writer
  • Chris Merrill, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa