Visions and Fever Dreams: New Iranian Lit
Come for a special reading on folklore, the Iranian revolution, and people whose dreams were lost to history. “One of Iran's greatest novelists” (The Guardian), Shahriar Mandanipour reads from Moon Brow, the story of a playboy-turned-soldier shell shocked from the Iran-Iraq War who sees visions of angels from the past. Jasmin Darznik reads from Song of a Captive Bird, her debut novel about the life of legendary rebel feminist poet Forough Farrokhzad; the novel translates many of her poems into English for the first time. Also featuring Mananipour’s translator Sara Khalili, and moderated by Porochista Khakpour.
Shahriar Mandanipour is one of Iran’s most accomplished writers, the author of nine volumes of fiction, one nonfiction book, and more than 100 critical essays. Born in 1957 in Shiraz, Iran, he studied political science at Tehran University and bore witness to the 1979 revolution. After the onset of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, he joined the military and volunteered for duty at the front, where he served for more than eighteen months. His first collection of stories was published in 1989; his works were banned between 1992 and 1997. In 2006, he moved to the United States and has held fellowships at Brown, Harvard, and Boston College. Mandanipour’s first novel to appear in English, Censoring an Iranian Love Story (Knopf, 2009), has been widely acclaimed. He currently teaches creative writing at Tufts University.
Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, and Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali. She has also translated several volumes of poetry by Forough Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, Siavash Kasraii, and Fereydoon Moshiri. Her short story translations have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, EPOCH, GRANTA, Words Without Borders, The Literary Review, PEN America, Witness, and Consequence.
Jasmin Darznik is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her novel Song of a Captive Bird is a fictional account of Iran’s trailblazing woman poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, and will be published by Random House in February 2018. Jasmin was born in Tehran, Iran and came to America when she was five years old. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. Now a professor of English and creative writing at California College of the Arts, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
Porochista Khakpour’s debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of the Chicago Tribune’s Fall’s Best, and the 2007 California Book Award winner in the “First Fiction” category. Her second novel The Last Illusion was a 2014 "Best Book of the Year" according to NPR, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, Popmatters, Electric Literature, and many more. Among her many fellowships is a National Endowment for the Arts award. Her nonfiction has appeared in many sections of The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Elle, Slate, Salon, and Bookforum, among many others. Currently, she is guest faculty at VCFA and Stonecoast's MFA programs as well as Contributing Editor at The Evergreen Review. Born in Tehran and raised in the Los Angeles area, she lives in New York City’s Harlem.
Established in 1991, Asian American Writers Workshop is a national not-for-profit arts organization devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans–in other words, we’re the preeminent organization dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told. We’re building the Asian literary culture of tomorrow through our curatorial platform, which includes our New York events series and our online editorial initiatives. In a time when China and India are on the rise, when immigration is a vital electoral issue, when the detention of Muslim Americans is a matter of common practice, we believe Asian American literature is vital to interpret our post-multicultural but not post-racial age. Our curatorial take is intellectual and alternative, pop cultural and highbrow, warm and artistically innovative, and vested in New York City communities.