Olaf Koens

Horses Fly Business Class

Humans and animals in the Middle East

The Middle East through the lens of its animal inhabitants

Can a giraffe commit suicide? How do you fit 69 horses in an airplane? How do you evacuate a zoo in a warzone?

Koens, a TV news reporter, takes the reader on a dizzying trip from the dusty streets of Gaza to Qatar’s blinding desert, from the calm Turkish countryside to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq to examine how animals are party to wars and sometimes escape in miraculous ways. The fate of these animals lays bare the misery, hopes and fears of people in the Middle East where storks are seen as spies, lions as trophies and dolphins as weapons.


Olaf Koens

Olaf Koens has been working as a freelance news correspondent in Moscow and the Middle-East. In 2014 Koens won the Dutch prize ‘De Gouden Pen’, for his story about his first night at the crash site of the MH17.

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Paarden vliegen business class. Verhalen over mens en dier in het Midden-Oosten (2019). Non-fiction, 240 pages.

Sample translation

Romanian (PDF document)


Nijgh & Van Ditmar

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NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

[email protected]

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