As part of my personal resistance and opposition to the recent executive order banning travelers and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, and accompanying moratorium on all refugee admissions, I decided to develop a three-part series highlighting authors from the seven countries included in the ban. You can find the Introduction and Part 1 here. Below is Part 2.
Authors from the Seven Countries Affected by Trump’s Travel Ban: Iran and Syria
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi. Mahmoud is an Iranian writer and actor, best known for his promotion of social and artistic freedom in contemporary Iran.
- Missing Soluch – “Perhaps the most important work in modern Iranian literature, this starkly beautiful novel examines the trials of an impoverished woman and her children living in a remote village in Iran, after the unexplained disappearance of her husband, Soluch.”
- The Colonel – “A pitch black, rainy night in a small Iranian town. Inside his house, the colonel stared at the portrait of the famous military hero –The Colonel, long executed. He thinks of his own children, one of whom died supporting the Shah, another of whom fought for the Ayatollah, another of whom – his fourteen-year old daughter – has been captured handing out leaflets against the regime. The Colonel has fought against the British…he fought for the Shah… he fought for the Ayatollah…he’s dedicated his life to his country…the house is quiet.
Could they really be coming…for him?”
Shahrnush Parsipur. Shahrnush was born and raised in Tehran, receiving her B.A. in sociology from Tehran University in 1973. She is the recipient of the first International Writers Project Fellowship from the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
Touba and the Meaning of Night – “Introduces English-speaking readers to the masterpiece of a great contemporary Persian writer, renowned in her native Iran and much of Western Europe. This remarkable epic novel, begun during one of the author’s several imprisonments, was published in Iran in 1989 to great critical acclaim and instant bestseller status—until Shahrnush Parsipur was again arrested a year later, and all her works banned by the Islamic Republic.
- Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran – “With a tone that is stark, and bold, Women Without Men creates an evocative allegory of life for contemporary Iranian women.”
Fadi Azzam. Fadi is a Syrian journalist and fiction writer, who studied Arabic at Damascus University. He now lives and works in the United Arab Emirates.
- Sarmada – “Sarmada, Arabic for perpetuate or the eternally-not-changed, is the novel’s fictitious setting. In the title, Fadi Azzam creates a new word (a derivative female form of noun-verb, which does not exist in Arabic) and in so doing immediately lets the reader know that women are the protagonists of this story that spans several generations, from Syria to Paris and back again.”
Adonis. Adonis was born Ali Ahmed Said in the village of Al Qassabin. At the age of 19, he adopted the name Adonis (also spelled Adunis) after the Greek god of fertility. He is considered one of the Arab world’s greatest living poets.
- Adonis: Selected Poems – “This volume serves as the first comprehensive survey of Adonis’s work, allowing English readers to admire the arc of a remarkable literary career through the labors of the poet’s own handpicked translator, Khaled Mattawa.”
- The Pages of Day and Night – “Restless and relentless, Adonis explores the pain and otherness of exile, a state so complete that absence replaces identity and becomes the exile’s only presence. Exile can take many forms for the Arabic poet, who must practice his craft as an outsider, separated not only from the nation of his birth but from his own language; in the present as in the past, that exile can mean censorship, banishment, or death. Through these poems, Adonis gives an exquisite voice to the silence of absence.”