Parsipur, Shahrnush


Shahrnush Parsipur (‎ born February 17, 1946) is an Iranian writer and translator.

Born and raised in Tehran, Parsipur received her B.A. in sociology from Tehran University in 1973 and studied Chinese language and civilization at the Sorbonne from 1976 to 1980. Her first book was Tupak-e Qermez (The Little Red Ball – 1969), a story for young people. Her first short stories were published in the late 1960s. One early story appeared in Jong-e Isfahan, no. 9 (June 1972), a special short-story issue which also featured stories by Esma’il Fasih, Houshang Golshiri, Taqi Modarresi, Bahram Sadeghi, and Gholam Hossein Saedi. Her novella Tajrobeha-ye Azad (Trial Offers – 1970) was followed by the novel Sag va Zemestan-e Boland (The Dog and the Long Winter), published in 1976. In 1977, she published a volume of short stories called Avizeh’ha-ye Bolur (Crystal Pendant Earrings).

As of the late 1980s, Parsipur received considerable attention in Tehran literary circles, with the publication of several of her stories and several notices and a lengthy interview with her in Donya-ye Sokhan magazine. Her second novel was Touba va ma’na-ye Shab (Touba and the Meaning of Night – 1989), which Parsipur wrote after spending four years and seven months in prison. Right before her incarceration, in 1990, she published a short novel, in the form of connected stories, called Zanan bedun-e Mardan (Women without Men), which Parsipur had finished in the late 1970s. The first chapter appeared in Alefba, no. 5 (1974). The Iranian government banned Women without Men in the mid-1990s and put pressure on the author to desist from such writing. Early in 1990, Parsipur finished her fourth novel, a 450-page story of a female Don Quixote called Aql-e abirang (Blue-colored Logos), which remained unavailable as of early 1992. In 1994 she went to the United States and wrote Prison Memoire, a 450 pages of her memoire of four different times that she was in different prisons. In 1996 she wrote her fifth novel Shiva, a science fiction in 900 pages. In 1999 she published her sixth novel, Majaraha-ye Sadeh va Kuchak-e Ruh-e Deraxt (The Plain and Small Adventures of the Spirit of the Tree), in 300 pages. In 2002, she published her seventh novel, Bar Bal-e Bad Neshastan (On the wings of Wind), in 700 pages.

Since 2006, she has been making various programs for Radio Zamaneh based in Amsterdam.

Parsipur was recipient of the prestigious Hellmann Hammett Award for Human Rights in 1994 and was honored in 2003 at the Encyclopaedia Iranica Gala in Miami, for her lifelong achievements as a novelist and literary figure, the first recipient of the International Writers Project Fellowship from the Program in Creative Writing and the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University for 2003-2004, and she received an honorary doctorate from Brown University in 2010.

She was married to the Iranian film director Nasser Taghvai, but the marriage ended in divorce after seven years. They have a son together.

Parsipur, Shahrnush

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