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Read Iran with us this spring

Posted on March 23, 2021

Spring in Tehran, by Arman Key. CC by 2.0 license.

With the recent lifting of the so-called "Muslim ban," we at Words Without Borders are looking forward to the U.S. becoming a more open place than it has been in recent years. And we are especially glad to announce the completion of the collection of literature from Iran on this website.

Here, you'll find short readings across many genres—from graphic literature to poetry and fiction to personal essays. Each piece of literature is posted with an array of carefully curated resources—author and translator interviews, relevant music and film clips, and journalism that provides background on social issues—as well as teaching ideas and "Playlist" for further exploration. 

Wondering where to start? It's difficult to choose, but a few of our favorites include:

  • For the Love of the Books, from woman journalist Habibe Jafarian, an essay about a childhood spent reading "forbidden books" in Iran's most religious city, translated by Salar Abdoh
  • Connection, a passionate love poem from Iran's most famous and controversial woman poet, Forugh Farrokzhad, translated by Sholeh Wolpé
  • An Iranian Metamorphosis, cartoonist Mana Neyestani's Kafkaesque graphic memoir of a single word that sent him to prison, translated by Ghazal Mosadeq.

To see the entire collection, visit the "Iran" page, where you'll also find an introduction to modern Persian history and literature from the scholar and novelist Amir Arian. The literature is organized into theme-based mini-collections, many of which connect to other work on the site: for example, students might read stories of "Transformations" from Iran and Japan.

We hope this collection provides you and the young people in your with new ways of engaging with the world, whether your part of the globe is still in "shut-down mode" or reopening. If you have any questions, or would like a short site tour, please don't hesitate to get in touch, on this site or at [email protected]

Journalist Habibe Jafarian. 

P.S. Subscribe to our newsletter to get an invitation to our May 12th live virtual event, featuring Iranian authors Habibe Jafarian (How to be a Woman in Tehran, For the Love of the Books) and Salar Abdoh (Hunger, The Cleric and I)