Readings will echo Iran woman's voice

Exiled Iranian writer Shahmush Parsipur presents two, free readings on Jan. 20-21.

Parsipur's first reading will be at noon Jan. 20 when she opens Peninsula College's winter 2009 Foothill Writers Series in the college's Little Theater, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

Another reading will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 in Room D of the Fort Worden State Park School House, at the Port Townsend extension site of Peninsula College, 298 Battery Way, Port Townsend.

A question-and-answer session with her follows.

Now living in California as a political refugee, Parsipur first was imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran's political prison for four years, seven months following a misunderstanding when she returned to her country in 1979 after interrupting her education in France.

She was jailed on two other occasions for openly referring to virginity in her novella "Women without Men."

Born in 1946, Parsipur started writing short stories and articles when she was 16. At 28, she wrote her first novel, "Sag va Zememstaneh Boland" (The Dog and the Long Winter).

She is the author of 11 works of fiction and memoir, among them "Shiva," a science fiction novel considered the first and only one of its kind in Iranian literature.

In 1992, she was invited to go on a literary tour in the United States, Canada and several European countries and spent two months in Iowa, where she participated in the famed Iowa Writers Workshop.

Following the tour she returned to Iran but because the publication of all of her books was banned, she came back to the United States where she has taken up residency.

Parsipur was the first recipient of the International Writer's Project Fellowship from Brown University. She is also the recipient of the Hilman_Hammet award and has received the honorary tablet of Syrus the Great from encyclopedia Iranica.

Translations of Parsipur's stories appear in "Stories by Iranian Women since the Revolution" and "Stories from Iran: A Chicago Anthology."

She also has been a contributor as a critic and essayist to the "Persian Book Review and Negin magazines," based in Los Angeles, as well as "Shahrvand," a journal published in Toronto, Canada.

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