Golshiri, Houshang


Houshang Golshiri Fiction writer, critic and editor was born in Esfahan in 1937 and raised in Abadan. His was a large family of modest circumstances. From 1955 to 1974, Golshiri lived in Esfahan, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in Persian at the University of Esfahan and taught elementary and high school there and in surrounding towns.

Golshiri began writing fiction in the late 1950s. His publication of short stories in Payam-e Novin and elsewhere in the early 1960s, his establishment of Jong-e Esfahan (1965 – 1973), the chief literary journal of the day published outside of Tehran, and his participation in efforts to reduce official censorship of imaginative literature brought him a reputation in literary circles. Golshiri’s first collection of short stories was Mesl-e hamisheh [As Always] (1968). Then came the book which made him famous, his first novel Shazdeh ehtejab [Prince Ehtejab] (1968/1969). Translated in Literature East & West 20 (1980), it is the story of aristocratic decadence, implying the inappropriateness of monarchy for Iran. Shortly after production of the popular feature film based on the novel, Pahlavi authorities arrested Golshiri and incarcerated him for nearly six months.

An autobiographical and less successful novel called Keristin ba Kid [Christine and Kid] came out in 1971, followed by a collection of short stories called Namazkhaneh-ye kuchek-e man [My Little Prayer Room] (1975), and a novel called Barreh-ye Gomshodeh-ye ra’i: (jeld-e Avval) tadfin-e Zendegan [Ra’i’s Lost Lamb (volume 1): Burial of the Living] (1977).

In 1978, Golshiri travelled to the United States of America. Back in Iran in early 1979, Golshiri married Farzaneh Taheri whom he credits with editing his subsequent writing and was active in the revitalized Association of Iranian Writers, the editing of journals, literary criticism, and short-story writing. In the 1980s, he published Massoum-e Panjom [The Fifth Innocent] (1980), Jobbeh’khaneh [The Antique Chamber] (1983), Hadis-e Mahigir va Div [The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon] (1984), and Panj Ganj [Five Treasures] (1989), which he published in Stockholm during a visit to Europe in 1989. In 1990, under a pseudonym, Golshiri published a novella in translation called King of the Benighted, an indictment of Iranain monarchy, engage Persian literature, the Tudeh Party, and the Islamic Republic. A collection of Golshiri stories in translation was scheduled for publication in 1991 with the title Blood and Aristocrats and Other Stories.

In the winter of 1998 he published Jen Nameh (Story of Demon) and Jedal-e Naghsh ba Naghash (Struggle of Image with Painter), and inthe autum of 1999 he released a collection of articles called Bagh dar Bagh (Garden in Garden).

Golshiri after a long period of illness died on 6 June 2000 in Iran Mehr hospital of Tehran.

(From: Iran Chamber Society)

Golshiri, Houshang

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