Junis Sultan





“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Junis Sultan studied in Frankfurt am Main, Eichstätt and at California State University Fullerton. He received a Fulbright and a Horizonte Scholarship. For the past six years, he has taught English, politics, and economics as a high school teacher in Frankfurt am Main. He is pursuing a doctorate in Modern Political Theory at the University of Heidelberg.

Books and more

Junis Sultan: “Society has become more open and diverse.”


U.S. title: Brothers and Strangers: A German-Iraqi Memoir JUNIS SULTAN (Brandylane Publishers, Inc./Belle Isle Books)


German edition: Glaubenskriege: Von Fremden und Freunden JUNIS SULTAN und MIRIAM NEIDHARDT
(Königshausen und Neumann Verlag)

Born in Mosul, Iraq, to a wealthy intercultural family, Junis Sultan’s happy, privileged childhood is abruptly cut short by the start of the Gulf War in 1991. With their home destroyed, Junis’ family flees to Germany, settling in a small conservative town near Frankfurt. As his family struggles to adapt to their new circumstances, Junis finds himself increasingly torn between two worlds, fighting to carve out an identity for himself between his family’s expectations, and a culture that demands his assimilation. In the years following the 9/11 terror attacks, Junis begins to keep a diary, in which he reflects on questions of family, friendship, religion, and politics. These deep insights gradually expand beyond cultural borders, as Junis begins to explore the universal human needs for bonding and freedom. 

Brothers and Strangers is a unique, heartfelt memoir of endurance, forgiveness, and self-actualization, offering a timely message about the importance of acting with openness and love in a global reality. 

The book was published in 2017 under the title Struggles of Strangers: Of Bonding and Freedom. In 2019, it was nominated for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.


Struggles of Strangers: Of Bonding and Freedom, A German-Iraqi Memoir FINALIST RESTLESS BOOKS PRIZE FOR NEW IMMIGRANT WRITING


Struggles of Strangers: Of Bonding and Freedom JUNIS SULTAN

Born in 1986, Junis Sultan enjoys a high society life until the 1991 Gulf War compels his family to escape from Iraq to Germany. While his multicultural family strains under social pressure and personal failures to find a place in Germany, Junis strives to maintain the relationships within his torn environment, and to find himself. After 9/11, however, his dreams pull him down into unspoken chasms.


Die Bleibücher von Frankfurt
(play on excerpts from Struggles of Strangers and more) HÖHMANN, HEINZELMANN, FRICKER, LEJEUNE, TAEGER, WENIG




  • Junis Sultan’s painfully and brilliantly written memoir is a powerful and desperately needed denunciation of enduring orientalism, state delinquency, and war capitalism as much as it is a utopic project for a new humanity.
    —Jaime A. Alves, freelance journalist, author of The Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil, University of Minnesota Press
  • Junis Sultan surmounts his diverse Iraqi, German, Muslim and Christian roots with a brave and powerful account of how solidarity and empathy can overcome what divides us.
    —Robin Cohen, emeritus professor at University of Oxford and co-author, with Olivia Sheringham, of Encountering Difference (2016)
  • A beautiful story which demonstrates that love and friendship may, and ultimately will, triumph over political propaganda and chauvinistic hatred.
    —Fred Dallmayr, professor emeritus, University of Notre Dame
  • Sultan’s cosmopolitan message of human solidarity has a compelling moral authority from which the citizens of host societies can take instruction and from which the dispossessed may take comfort and encouragement.
    —Bryan S. Turner, Australian Catholic University and Potsdam University Germany
  • Deeply moving ... this beautifully told life story not only attends to the mixing but also shows how the identities that sustain us also pull us apart as societies and as individuals.
    —David Roediger (University of Kansas), author of How Race Survived US History
  • Emotionally honest … this inspiring story is a portrait of courage amidst despair, resilience amidst adversity, tolerance amidst prejudice, and our shared humanity amidst deep division and animosity.
    —Van C. Tran, associate professor of sociology, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
  • A compelling humanization of a frequent object of study: research reports, data and statistics suddenly become one human individual, with his feelings, his thoughts and reflections ... Sultan reminds us that those other millions have a story like his.
    —Elisa Costa-Villaverde, lecturer and researcher at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain). Associate editor of Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture
  • This thoughtful and honest account of the consequences of migration policies, amongst others, on individual lives and families reminds us that we all have a certain responsibility in building a world in which everyone can prosper. 
    —Lena Hartz, Routed Magazine
  • This riveting memoir … evokes both the personal triumphs and the struggles of a family caught up in the maelstrom of a world of borders and tense interactions.
    —Guillermo Reyes, author of Madre and I: A Memoir of Our Immigrant Lives
  • An intimate and moving portrait ... Junis Sultan writes with heartrending honesty, drawing a compelling parallel between the conflicts within his multicultural, divided family and their experience as refugees facing unrelenting xenophobia.
    —Rajia Hassib, author of A Pure Heart
  • Sultan’s storytelling is seamless, always pulling forward his theme of searching for his place in the world, but raising, too, universal questions about belonging, identity, and human responsibility for those in need … Very readable and deeply authentic … a book for our times.
    —Lisa Dale Norton, author of the St. Martin’s Press books: Hawk Flies Above: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills, and Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir

German Comments

Sultans offene und ehrliche Darstellung besonders in den eingebundenen Tagebucheinträgen bietet ein sehr intensives Leseerlebnis, das sowohl über die menschenunwürdigen Folgen des Zweite Golfkriegs berichtet aber auch zum Nachdenken über das Fehlverhalten in der eigenen Gesellschaft anregt. Absolute Leseempfehlung!

Marlies Horch, Referentin der Stiftung für die Internationalen Wochen gegen Rassismus und Mitinitiatoren des Projekts SCHULTER AN SCHULTER (SaS).






    Name: Junis Sultan
    Email: Junis.Sultan@gmx.de