Mandanipour was banned from publishing his work in Iran for several years
Literature in Iran is prevalent and it is something many Iranian communities hold dear to them.
With famous Eastern poets such as Hafez, Rumi and Omar Khayyam whose works are widely used in contemporary Iranian society, it is no surprise that Iranian authors all over the world use this as inspiration for their own writing.
Censorship in Iran is strong, and so Iranian authors mainly in Britain, the United States and Canada feel more confident in sharing their stories.
The popularity of this literature is growing, as both Iranians and non-Iranians enjoy the works of these authors.
DESIblitz shares five Iranian authors from across the world who shed a light into their experiences of Iran.
Shappi Khorsandi is a British-Iranian comedienne and writer who has also appeared on many British comedy television shows.
A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English is Khorsandi’s only published book to date, but it has been a huge success.
The book tells the true story of Khorsandi’s life as her family moved to London shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 when she was just 6 years old.
She shares her transition from everything she knew in Iran to knowing absolutely nothing about Britain. Her father being a wanted man for his work as a famous journalist and how her family coped with everything.
Throughout the chapters there are key flashbacks to her grandparents’ lives to provide readers with more of an understanding of her family and background.
Also, the book being written in the point of view of Khorsandi as a child makes everything she experiences more poignant and heartwarming.
Nina Ansary is an American-Iranian scholar and writer who focuses on gender equality in Iran.
Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran is Ansary’s first published book despite her many contributions to newspapers, magazines and journals.
This is an account of the progression of the women’s movement in Iran, its ups and downs and what the future holds for women.
What is particularly interesting is that Ansary includes a vast amount of research in this book such as women’s movements from hundreds of years ago, the history of Iran, and the influence of Zoroastrianism.
At the end of the book, Ansary celebrates the role of key Iranian women by mentioning their work and influence in society, showing readers how significant this movement is in Iran.
Overall, it allows readers to understand that even though women in Iran are deemed as inferior, they are actually well educated, well informed and very much determined to gain gender equality.
Marjane Satrapi is a French-Iranian author, illustrator and director who is famous for her graphic novels.
The Persepolis sequel, Embroideries and Broderies are some of the books Satrapi has written as well as Persepolis, The Voices and The French Kissers being some of the films that she has directed.
Persepolis is arguably Satrapi’s most famous work and tells her story about growing up in Iran during the revolution that occurred in 1979 as well as the Iran-Iraq war that followed shortly afterwards.
Within the sequel there are 4 books, with the first one depicting her childhood, giving readers an insight into growing up in a country of turmoil.
Despite the book and film depicting Satrapi’s life, it has been banned in Iran but has remained a huge success around the world.
The film adaptation has won many awards such as the British Film Institute Award in 2007 and the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, making the book well worth a read.
Maziar Bahari is a Canadian-Iranian journalist and human rights activist. He has directed a number of films and raised awareness of ethnic minorities being persecuted in Iran.
Then They Came for Me tells the chilling story of Bahari being incarcerated in Iran’s most notorious prison, Evin, for his involvement in the election protests in Iran in 2009.
Throughout his time in prison he was continuously tortured and made to confess crimes that he did not commit.
During his time in Evin prison, his wife organised an international campaign to raise awareness of what was going on and after 4 months, he was finally released despite being charged with 11 counts of espionage.
This book gives an account of the dark side of Iran and shows readers what happens to a lot of journalists in Iran, something which usually remains a secret.
Then They Came for Me became a New York Times Best Seller and Jon Stewart, an American comedian and director, plans to make a film adaptation of Bahari’s story.
Shahriar Mandanipour is an American-Iranian writer who is famous for his short stories and novels.
Censoring an Iranian Love Story shows readers the difficulty in having novels published in Iran without them being heavily edited first.
Mandanipour was banned from publishing his work in Iran for several years and then moved to the United States in 2006 where he was able to translate his work into English and finally have it published.
This tells the story of a young man and woman who fall in love but have to keep it a secret as Iranian society prohibits unmarried couples being in public together. They therefore invent different ways to communicate with one another.
What is most interesting about this style of writing is that it has been published as though someone of authority has edited it.
So certain words or sentences are crossed out to show that they would not be allowed if the book was published in Iran. As a matter of fact, the book remains banned in Iran.
With these influential writers sharing their stories from all around the world, it is clear that many cultures deal with similar issues of freedom and identity.
The homeland is something which Iranians deeply relate to and their vibrant literature also allows non-Iranians to understand the rich culture and heritage.