Persis Karim editor of Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora and contributing writers, Layla Dowlatshahi and Farnoosh Seifoddini introduce a collection of poems and prose by women of exile and immigration from Iran.
Layla Dowlatshahi (Playwright, JOYS OF LIPSTICK) graduated from UC Berkeley and received her MFA from Goddard College. Joys of Lipstick was staged at The Producerâ€™s Club and was written up in The New York Times. Waiting Room had a staged reading at the Annenberg Studio Theatre at the University of Pennsylvania. She has completed three additional plays, (Waiting Room and Joys of Lipstick are slated to be published by Temple University Press) a teleplay and a novel, Stones in the Garden. Ogham Stones, her latest play, will have a staged reading this summer. She currently teaches writing at City University of New York.
Persis M. Karim
Persis Karim was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by her French mother, Evelyne M. Karim and her late Iranian father, Alexander Karim. She grew up feeling a little â€œdifferentâ€ and spent a good deal of her childhood explaining an identity she couldnâ€™t fully grasp. During the 1979 hostage crisis, she had a kind of awakening. After graduating from college at UC Santa Cruz, she felt an immense longing to learn more about her Iranian heritage. In the early 1980s she began learning Persian and got involved with a group of Iranian expatriates who were working to raise American awareness about the Iran-Iraq War. As the 1980s wore on, she felt a longing to become more familiar with Persian language and literature as well as the politics of the Middle East. In 1990 (on the eve of Perisan Gulf War I), she started graduate work at the University of Texas in Middle Eastern Studies. She followed her masterâ€™s degree, with a Ph.D. in comparative literature.
She is currently an associate professor of English and Comparative literature at San Jose State University where she teaches literature and creative writing. She has published her poetry in numerous literary journals including Reed Magazine, Alimentum, Di-Verse-City, HeartLodge, and Caesura. She is the author of numerous articles on Iranian American literature and the editor of the forthcoming anthology Let Me Tell You Where Iâ€™ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (to be published in May 2006 by the University of Arkansas Press. She is also co-editor and co-author of A World Between: Poems Short Stories and Essays by Iranian Americans (1999). She is currently working on a collection of essays, In the Belly of the Great Satan: Art, Literature and the Emergence of Iranian American Identity. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and her two beautiful sons.
Farnoosh Seifoddini received and MFA in Creative Writing San Francisco State University. Post graduation, she's adjusting to having a "real job" while attempting to polish her first manuscript. Farnoosh's most recent publications can be found in the North American Review and she has work forthcoming in the anthology, Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora. In her free time, she fulfills her incurable obsession with salvaging and reviving old furniture. She is a member of Ecstatic Monkey.
Karim offers a different insight into the Iranian perspective. In the beginning of her talk, she admits that she is not an expert on Iranian politics and appreciates that this collection of letters offers a more human face in response to politcal and social events that have and are occuring in Iran.