The Writer’s Block: Shahriar Mandanipour

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In this edition of The Writer’s Block exiled Iranian writer Shahriar Mandanipour talks about his writing process in exile, the catharsis of writing, and his routine.

Shahriar Mandanipour (Mondanipour), one of the most accomplished writers of contemporary Iranian literature, has held fellowships at Brown University, Harvard University, Boston College, and at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, and he has been a visiting professorship at Brown University, where he taught courses in Persian literature and cinema. His honors include the Mehregan Award for the best Iranian children’s novel of 2004, the 1998 Golden Tablet Award for best fiction in Iran during the previous two decades, and Best Film Critique at the 1994 Press Festival in Tehran.

Mandanipour is the author of nine volumes of fiction, one nonfiction book, and more than 100 essays in literary theory, literature and art criticism, creative writing, censorship, and social commentary. From 1999 until 2007, he was Editor-in-Chief of Asr-e Panjshanbeh (Thursday Evening), a monthly literary journal that after 9 years of publishing was banned. Some of his short stories and essays have been published in anthologies such as Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature and Sohrab’s Wars: Counter Discourses of Contemporary Persian Fiction: A Collection of Short Stories and a Film Script; and in journals such as The Kenyon Review, The Literary Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Short works have been published in France, Germany, Denmark, and in languages such Arabic, Turkish, and Kurdish.

Mandanipour’s first novel to appear in English, Censoring an Iranian Love Story, translated by Sara Khalili and published by Knopf in 2009, was very well received (Los Angeles Times, Guardian, New York Times, etc.). Censoring an Iranian Love Story was named by The New Yorker one of the reviewers’ favorites of 2009, by the Cornell Daily Sun as Best Book of the Year for 2009, and by NPR as one of the best debut novels of the year; it was awarded (Greek ed.) the Athens Prize for Literature for 2011. The novel has been translated and published in 11 other languages and in 13 countries throughout the world.

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

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