Shattering the Stereotypes of Iran and Iranians Through Fiction

When 4 Dec 2013
6:30PM - 8:30PM
Where Asia Society New York
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street
New York
United States
Cost $10 members; $12 seniors/students with ID; $15 nonmembers

Four Iranian-American writers — Salar AbdohAnita Amirrezvani, Persis Karim, andDalia Sofer –offer a bracing counter-narrative to prevailing discourse about Iran. Moderated by writer and translator Nahid Mozaffari, the discussion will include such topics as the role of fiction vs. memoir and poetry; the difference between literature being written in Iran and the US; the role of minorities; the post-9/11 climate; and the connections between tradition and the minority experience. Novelist Anita Amirrezvani (The Blood of Flowers) and poet Persis Karim, are co-editors of Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers. Amirrezvani will also talk about and sign her latest historical novel Equal of the Sun, set in the intrigue-laden 16th-century Persian court.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

Equal of the Sun — Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter and protégée, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but her maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, possess an incredible tapestry of secrets that explode in a power struggle of epic proportions.

“A page-turner…. Here’s hoping Amirrezvani will write many more tales illuminating the incredible history of the Iranians.”
— The Washington Post

“A vibrant portrait of a country in the throes of change, with an extraordinary woman at its center. ”
— San Jose Mercury News


Salar Abdoh is the author of the novels The Poet Game and Opium. His novel Tehran at Twilight will be published in 2014. He is also the editor of Tehran Noir, due in 2014. His articles, short stories and translations have appeared in a variety of publications in North America and Europe — including The New York TimesBomb, BBCCallaloo and Guernica. He is the recipient of the NYFA award and the National Endowment in the Arts award. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at The City College of the City University of New York, and the Co-Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing. Salar divides his time between Tehran and New York City.

Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran and raised in San Francisco. For 10 years, she was a dance critic for newspapers in the Bay Area. She has received fellowships from the National Arts Journalism Program, the NEA’s Arts Journalism Institute for Dance, and the Hedgebrook Foundation for Women Writers. Equal of the Son is her second novel, set in the same historical era as her first best-seller, The Blood of Flowers.

Persis Karim is co-editor of Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers (with Anita Amirrezvani), as well as the editor of two previous anthologies of Iranian American literature: Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora(2006) and A World Between: Poems, Stories and Essays by Iranian American Writers (co-edited with M. M. Khorrami). Her poetry has appeared in a number of national publications including CallallooCaesuraReed MagazineHeartLodge, and The Pedestal. She has published numerous essays about literature of the Iranian diaspora and teaches literature and creative writing at San Jose State University.

“. . . Don’t live in the world as if you were renting or here only for the summer, but act as if it was your father’s house. . .Believe in seeds, earth, and the sea, but people above all. Love clouds, machines, and books, but people above all.” — Nazim Hikmet, 20th century Turkish poet.

Dalia Sofer was born in Tehran and at the age of 11 moved with her family to New York. She is the author of the novel The Septembers of Shiraz (Ecco Press, 2007), which was selected as a 2007 New York Times “Notable Book of the Year,” and has been translated and published in 16 countries. She is the recipient of a 2007 Whiting Writers’ Award, the 2007 Sirenland Fellowship, the 2008 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship, and the 2009 Sami Rohr Choice Award. She has contributed essays and reviews to various publications, including the New York Times Book ReviewThe BelieverPoets & Writers magazine, and the Academy of American Poets’ National Poetry Almanac, and has also been a contributor to NPR. She is currently working on her second novel, tentatively titled The Family Affliction.

Dr. Nahid Mozaffari (moderator) is currently Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. She has previously taught at NYU in New York and Paris and at the New School for Social Research. She received her PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. Her publications include Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature (Arcade Publishing 2005, 2013), “Culture and Resistance: Writing Back to Power” in Targeting Iran, David Barsamian, ed. City Lights, 2007, and numerous articles on early 20th-century Iranian history. She is currently writing in and editing The History of Slavery in Qajar Iran.

To read an excerpt from Tremors, click here.

To purchase Tremors or other books by authors featured in the program, click here.

View all Iran Modern-related events

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Photo courtesy of the organiser/s