"Eleven years ago, I spent my summer holidays as a guerrilla in northern Iraq. It was the end of my second year at university and the Gulf War had just finished. I neither wanted to go inter-railing nor work in Waitrose. So I went to Iraq with a friend in search of Kurdish guerrillas. Both of us had recently been dumped by our first serious girlfriends and had read too many French post-war novels. We met in Istanbul and hitched across Turkey towards the Iraqi border. It was a phenomenally stupid thing to do. I'd like to say it was because we deeply believed in the Kurdish cause, but actually we just wanted some good stories for the college bar."