Tag: recommendation

Dlvan Zirak

A poet with a Heart of Gold

I met Dlvan three years ago in a Facebook writers’ group, before either of us had published anything. Before I detail how we met, I do need to establish a little bit of context. I’d already written a few chapters of a novel project that I have, but I’d also started planning another, rather different kind of “novel”, one that I felt would benefit from having a variety of points of view and contributors (I won’t detail why here, as it would spoil a fair bit of the concept of that book.)

Anyway, large groups on Facebook can often turn out to feature very impersonal, generic interactions, but this time one of the admins posted a suggestion to look for people to talk to one-on-one. Dlvan was one of those who posted, saying she’s from Iraqi Kurdistan. I was intrigued by this, as it might have come in handy for that collective writing project I had in mind. I got in touch with her and suggested she write a piece that might fit into the final result. She was more into poetry, but she was willing to give this a shot, and actually acquitted herself quite well of this task.

Sadly, that project is, just like my other novel, still in mothballs for the moment. However, she and I quickly got along, exchanging our various creations for feedback. She pretty quickly made it clear that she had a knack for guessing where my stories were going with just the prompt and the first part.

Later on, she decided to publish several of her poems into a book, 5 a.m. Thoughts, and chose to use Amazon’s self-publishing platform (then CreateSpace) to do it. This was particularly interesting to me, as it gave me a way to find out how this works and opened up the possibility of publishing my work without having to go through a massive querying phase and a ton of rejections. I had a full-time job then, and didn’t have time to shop for a publisher, so this came in very useful. In fact, it was thanks to her experience with this platform and her encouragement that I decided to put together a dozen of my stories and publish my own book, The Edge of Reason.

For several months I gave her regular English coaching sessions, and pretty soon during those sessions she asked me to help her revise and edit her first book in order to publish a new edition. She’s made significant progress in her English, and is now able to identify and avoid a lot more mistakes than she used to.

Most recently, she asked me to edit her second book, A Jar of Memories, this time before releasing the first edition. You will find the Amazon links to both books in the factsheet.


5 a.m. Thoughts

A deep, heartfelt work with very effective imagery and sincere emotions, covering many areas of life including many of its contradictions, it draws the reader into a young woman’s troubled mind.

A Jar of Memories

In this book the author zeroes in on a few larger-scale emotional topics through her poems, still with the same effective imagery.

The book also contains immersive short stories that draw the reader in and yet leave a lot to the imagination.

Find her online:


Dlvan Zirak is a Kurdish writer. She was born in 1995 in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. “A Jar of Memories” is her second book, following her debut collection of poetry and quotes “5 a.m. Thoughts”, which sold hundreds of copies.

Writing is Dlvan’s way to communicate and say unspoken things. She hopes that her words can impact people in a positive way, to let people know that she knows what they’re going through, and wants them to be brave enough to face hardships in life. Besides poetry, Dlvan also writes stories and sometimes non-fiction pieces.

Her first book, 5 a.m. Thoughts
available as a Kindle eBook
Her second book, A Jar of Memories

Filipa Santos Sousa

Travel, Poetry and Introspection

They say that bonds forged in the fires of adversity are among the strongest in the world. That’s definitely true of my friendship with Filipa. We met while living together in a shared apartment in Lisbon, Portugal that was a hot mess of a place, you know, the kind nightmares are made of – only without the actual gore. From messy housemates to crazy housemates to a nutcase landlord to a single fridge for 7 that never worked right, we had a lot to put up with, and… well, you can imagine… It was a mess. Eventually she and I found another place to live in a couple of streets away. That place was millions of times better than the first, but the bond was forged. It’s gotten so strong that she and I have now essentially adopted each other as extra siblings.

She actually started her blog, Crónicas de Utopia (in Portuguese, with some content in Spanish) before I started getting serious about my own writing. On it she shares poems, accounts of her travels, and some social and historical commentary. Her content is built largely on emotions and impressions, and conveys them with true passion and feeling.

Link to Filipa’s blog

Far from the strict schedule and rigor of journalism, a more creative version of herself, a rebellious and misunderstood spirit, awoke and cried out from inside, longing to be heard. She wished to navigate unknown dimensions of herself, to push her imagination farther than ever. This is how her blog was born. On it you will be able to read personal stories and poetic daydreams, individual pieces and real tales.


Filipa Santos Sousa was born in the north of Portugal. She was interested in monuments, books and history from a very young age. She has a Bachelor in Communication Sciences and a Masters degree in Information and Journalism. But as her career began she quickly realized and embraced her love of writing.

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