Mahmoud Dowlatabadi was born in 1940 in Dowlatabad, northwest Iran and is a writer and actor, known primarily for his realist stories focussing on rural life. His writing draws from his own experiences, such as helping his father with farming, tending flocks, and reading Persian folklore in his youth. He attended high school in Tehran and later joined the Anahita Drama group. In 1975 he was arrested and spent a year in prison.
Dowlatabadi began writing in the 60s and has published many novels, novellas, short story collections and plays. His first story, The Pit of Night, was published in 1962 in the Anahita Literary Magazine. Other major works include his 1968 novel, The Tale of Baba Sobhan which was filmed as Khak (Earth / dust) in 1972 by Masud Kimiai. Between 1977 and 1984 he wrote Kalidar, a novel about a persecuted family and a classic of Persian literature. His novel The Colonel was shortlisted for the Haus der Kulturen Berlin International Literary Award in 2009.