Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh

Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh (Isfahan, 1892; Geneva, 1997) was a prominent Iranian intellectual and pioneer of modern Persian prose and the short story genre. Jamalzadeh’s long and productive life spanned more than a century, a crucial period in Iran’s modern history, from the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and beyond. In 1921, the publication of his collection of short stories “Yeki bud yeki nabud” (Once upon a time), notable for its direct and colloquial language, the use of Persian idioms and an immense sociological, political and critical vision, marked an important point of departure. inflection in the development of modern fiction in Iran. However, Jamalzadeh’s contributions to Persian culture go beyond the genre of the tale. During his long life (1892-1997), Jamalzadeh published novels, short stories, political and social essays, scholarly research articles, literary magazines and reviews, as well as autobiographical and biographical essays. His worldview, reflected in nearly all of his writings, is based on his unique experience of Persian language, culture, history and customs, including his experiences in Iran during a period of upheaval, revolution and unrest, and that of residence in Europe thanks to his training, his knowledge of European languages ​​and his research methods. His distinctive dedication in his stories, essays, interviews and letters linked these two worlds and synthesized the best of both to advance modern education as the primary weapon in the fight against ignorance, poverty, oppression and injustice for the Iranian people. .

In 1910, Jamalzadeh left Lebanon to go to France to continue his studies. There, at the request of the Iranian ambassador, Mumtaz al-Saltanah, he went to Lausanne (Switzerland) to study law. Jamalzadeh lived in Lausanne (Switzerland) until 1911, when he moved to Dijon (France), where he continued his studies. He wrote numerous articles in the field of historical literature exceeding 300 titles. The historical background of Iran, the relations between Iran and Russia, the socio-economic and political situation of Iran are the subjects of his articles and books.

Jamalzadeh passed away in 1997 in Geneva. 53 years before his death, at the end of his book “Saro Tah Yek Karbas”, he wrote: “At the end of my life, my only wish is to go to the same place where I came into the world, half a century ago, and die in the same site.”

Jalal Al-e-Ahmad

Yaalal Al-e-Ahmad (1923-1969), is a renowned writer and social critic. In a short autobiographical sketch made in 1967, not published until after his death, he described his conservative, religious and moderately wealthy family. His father wanted his son to have a career in the bazaar. Upon finishing elementary school, he decided to enroll – unknown to his father – in night classes in Dar-al-fonun, while working during the day as a watchmaker, electrician and leather merchant. After finishing the Dar-al-fonun classes in 1943, he entered the Faculty of Letters at the University of Tehran, graduating in 1946, and the following year he was hired as a school teacher. He was forced to continue working as a teacher throughout his life, despite the growing respect and popularity he gained as a writer.

Yalal joined the Party of the Masses of Iran shortly after World War II. In the late 1940s, he distanced himself from this pre-Soviet party. He supported the oil nationalization movement of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq. Following the CIA-orchestrated coup in 1953, Al-e-Ahmad was imprisoned for several years.

In 1950, Al-e-Ahmad married Simin Daneshvar, a very talented writer. However, from 1945 to 1968, he wrote novels, essays, travel diaries, and ethnographic monographs. The themes of his works are mainly cultural, social and political issues, symbolic representations and sarcastic expressions. In his works, he focuses on the superstitious beliefs of the common people and their exploitation by the Shiite clergy.

He has translated some works into Persian, such as “The Dirty Hands” by Jean-Paul Sartre and “The Player” by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Al-e-Ahmad traveled to poor and remote parts of Iran and tried to document their lives, their culture and their problems. In 1962, he published “Gharbzadegi” (Occidentalism) which is his most famous critical essay. In this work he wrote a scathing critique of Western technology and civilization and argues that the decline of traditional Iranian industries, such as carpet weaving, was the beginning of the West’s existential and economic victories over the East. His message was widely adopted by Ayatollah Khomeini and later by other revolutionaries during the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Al-e-Ahmad died in 1969. It is rumored that he was poisoned by agents of Savak, the security service of the Shah of Iran.

Sara Salar

Iranian writer born in 1966 in Zahedan who currently lives in Tehran. In addition to the noble work of writing, Sara is dedicated to translation, through which she has realized that she cannot stop writing, and that writing is really a part of her being and that she will not feel good if lose this part with another job.

Upon finishing her studies, Sara Salar married Sorush Sehat, a famous Iranian writer, actor and director. During this time, Sara decided to enroll in storytelling courses so that she could translate and express her concerns.

“During the translation process, I came to the conclusion that I was not satisfied. It was very hard work and, little by little, I realized that translating the stories of others was not my job, because I had things to say and I wanted to write them myself with my dove. “

“I’m probably lost” is the title of the first book by Sara Salar, awarded in Iran. “Many people think that this book is the story of my personal life, because I was the narrator of my own story, but it is not like that” -expresses Sara- “my story is not real at all. I wanted to turn the stories in my head into a story, but when I start to write I can’t get away from myself and the people around me and their experiences. Sometimes these examples can be a mixture of several characters. “

“I think it’s a surprise! After a long time, I freed myself from the shackles of explaining to someone…. It’s funny, I have freed myself from the shackles of giving explanations to Mrs. Batoul, I have been saved, I… I feel that it fits perfectly…. If I didn’t have to go looking for Samiar, I would have stayed here all day… I’m going to wash up. My lids are brighter than can easily be disguised with makeup. I quickly put on makeup … I put on my coat and pants and put on my scarf … I quickly grab my bag, mobile phone, glasses and bottle of water and knock on the door … I stop for a few moments in front of the stairs and run down the stairs. steps, those ten flights of stairs… It’s right next to the wall where I sit and breathe… ”

Samad Behrangi

Samad Behrangi was born in the Cherendab district of Tabriz, Azerbaijan province. He received his early education in Tabriz and graduated in 1957. That same year, he began teaching at schools in the Azar Shahr district, about 50 kilometers southwest of Tabriz, for eleven years.

Samad was fascinated by Azerbaijani folk tales, and his first book, published in 1965, was a collection of several of these tales that he had translated into Persian. This work attracted the attention of literary circles in Tehran. The subsequent publication of an essay on educational problems, several original children’s stories that deal realistically with social issues, and a second volume of Azerbaijani folk tales consolidated their reputation among the new generation of writers.

He was only 29 years old when he drowned in the Araxes River in September 1968. The general opinion is that the Shah’s internal security service was responsible for the accident. At that time, his children’s stories, including “Mahi-e Siah Kuchulu” (The Little Black Fish), his most famous work, were in press and published posthumously. Later, in 1969, “24 Sa’at Dar Khab Va Bidary” (24 Hours Without Rest) and “Yek Hulu, Yek Hezar Hulu” (One Peach, One Thousand Peaches) were published.

He took a critical approach to the content of textbooks and the control methodology of state-sponsored curricula. He considers the entire education system to be outdated and alien to Iranian children, especially those in rural areas.

Samad Behrangi’s popularity continued after the 1979 Iranian revolution. His individual stories, often illustrated by renowned artists, appeared regularly in the 1980s and 1990s. Behrangi’s stories and folk tales have also been translated into Azeri.

“Death can easily hit me. But while I can, I’ll avoid it. It is clear that one day I will be in front of her. The important thing is what trace my life and my death will leave in the lives of others…”

(Of the little black fish)

Sadeq Hedayat

Sadeq Hedayat, Iranian writer, novelist and translator, was born in Tehran into an aristocratic family and is one of the fathers of modern Persian literature. Sadeq attended Dar-ol Funun’s school, and around 1916 he was diagnosed with an eye infection, interrupting his education for almost a year. In 1925 he completed his secondary education at a prestigious French school in Tehran, where he also taught Persian to a French priest and became familiar with the French language, world literature (mainly French), and metaphysics. Shortly after Reza Shah Pahlaví came to power in 1926, Sadeq, along with other Iranian students, was sent to Europe to study. This was the beginning of his direct exposure to different cities, towns, and cultures. He stayed for a time in Belgium and then moved to France, where he tried to commit suicide in a river in 1928, but was saved. He abandoned his architecture studies and devoted himself to writing. In 1930, Hedayat returned to Tehran and began working at Bank Mellí, which was then the central bank of Iran. During his stay in India, he studied the Pahlavi language and translated Ardeshir Babakan’s biography from Pahlavi into Persian. In 1932, he traveled to Isfahan and published his Isfahan travel journal, Nesf-e-Jahan (Isfahan, half the world), as well as the important collection of short stories Se Qatreh Khun (Three drops of blood).

“The Blind Owl” is recognized as Sadeq Hedayat’s masterpiece.

The novel was originally published in thirty copies, handwritten by the author himself, which later became the masterpiece of 20th-century Persian literature. It was not published in Iran until 1941, creating a scandal in Persian society. The Blind Owl is a work in which symbolist suggestions and Kafkaesque echoes are mixed with French existentialism, Indian culture and the magic of the great Persian literary tradition. Between reality and opium-induced hallucinations, a tiny pen tells his tragic story, his torments, his desire to forget. Hedayat envelops the reader in a state of hypnosis.

“In his eyes, in his black eyes, I found the eternal and deep darkness that I was looking for. (…) Will the mystery of these metaphysical accidents, of those reflections of the soul’s shadow that are only perceived in the semi-consciousness that separates sleep from wakefulness, be understood one day? (…) I am only afraid of one thing, of dying tomorrow, before having met myself. Well, the fact of living has revealed to me the abyss that separates me from others. “

Sadeq Hedayat committed suicide in Paris on April 10, 1961, at the age of 48, and was buried a few days later in the Père-Lachaise cemetery.

Sadeq Chubak

He was born in August 1916 in Bushehr. His father was a well-known bazaar merchant. He received his early education at Bushehr and later at Shiraz. He then moved to Tehran and attended the Alborz institute. After finishing high school, he was hired as a teacher by the Ministry of Education and sent to Khorramshahr, in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, after which he joined the national oil company.

Considered the greatest naturalistic writer in Persian literature, Chubak has written a large number of works, including novels, short stories, and plays. His collections of short stories “Kheymeh Shab Bazi” (Puppet Show), 1945, and “Antari Ke Lutiyash Murdeh Bud” (The Monkey Whose Master Was Dead), 1949, had a profound influence on modern Persian literature. There was a gap of several years before he returned with a major novel, “Tangsir,” in 1963, and two years later, “Rouze Avval-e Qabr” (The First Day at the Grave) was published. Chubak describes a very brutal world in which people are mortified in the extreme and cannot bear the sight of others in “Sang-e Sabur” (Shoulder to Cry on), which is one of the best modern novels in literature. Persian. In general, their idioms and popular proverbs move the story forward and are considered a natural element of dialogue. He translated into Persian some works by internationally renowned writers, such as Balzac and Shakespeare. Sadeq Chubak died in July 1998, in Berkeley, United States.

Leyla Hatami

Born on October 1, 1972, she is an Iranian actress and daughter of director Ali Hatamí and actress Zari Khoshkam.

After finishing high school, she moved to Lausanne and began her studies in electrical engineering at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne. After two years, she decided to change her specialty to French literature. She completed her studies before returning to Iran. After a short break, busy with her studies in Switzerland, she returned professionally to the cinema with the film “Leyla” by Dariush Mehrjui. His performance in this film was very well received by both critics and audiences.

She made a few brief appearances during her childhood, such as in “Hezar Dastan,” a television series, and “Kamal ol Molk,” a feature film, as well as a 1991 role as a blind Turkish princess in “Del Shodegan,” a historical drama. After playing small roles in some of her father’s films, Hatami made her first appearance in a leading role in the 1996 film Leyla, directed by Dariush Mehrjui. She was awarded the honorary diploma for best actress at the 15th Fajr Film Festival.

In 1999 she married Ali Mosaffa, her co-star in the movie “Leila.” They have two children, a son, Maní, born in February 2007, and a daughter, Asal, born in October 2008.

Her role in “The Deserted Station” (Istgah-e Matruk) earned her the best actress award at the 26th Montreal World Film Festival. She appeared in her husband’s films “Portrait of a Distant Woman” (Sima-ye Zani Dar Durdast) 2005 and “The Last Step” (Peleh Akhar) 2012. She also designed the sets and costumes for the latter, which was nominated at the Fajr Film Festival. In 2012, “A Separation” (Jodayi Nader az Simin) won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in which Hatamí played the female lead, which also won her the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival. She, moreover, in April 2014, was announced as a member of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.


Mohammad Ghaffari, nicknamed Kamal ol-Molk (1884 – 1919), was a famous Iranian painter, born in Kashan into a family of artists and painters. Mohammad, a very intelligent and sensitive boy, with a generous heart, grew up in a village in the middle of the countryside, his eyes and his heart were full of love for nature. It is said that he took a piece of coal from the oven and made drawings on the walls, in his father’s books, on horse saddles and, sometimes, away from his parents’ eyes, on the whitewashed wall of his room.

Golestan Palace

He moved to Tehran and during his stay he created several paintings commissioned by Naser al-Din Shah. Then he spent several years in Europe, studying with numerous European painters the works of the great painters in various museums around the world. Upon his return to Iran, Kamal-ol-Molk founded his own school of fine arts “Mostazarfeh”, which became a point of reference for new Iranian artists and painters.

Kamal-ol-Molk was one of the first Iranian painters to completely reject the traditional rules of painting. In accordance with the process of modernism, the distinction spread to the center of Qajar society and, as a result, the production of painting appeared gradually. The production of painting in Iran appeared around the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1908-1911), and Kamal-ol-Molk stood at the independent pole. “Royal painting” was the main form of drawings in the early Qajar period, and the court of Fath Ali Shah was considered the main center. However, “folk painting” was widely produced during this period. Kamal-ol-Molk, in the second half of his life, changed his mind and created works without any relation to royalty. In fact, he gradually began to create pure paint.

Kamal-ol-Molk is one of the first Iranian painters who began to become independent from the court, he established “art for art’s sake” in Iran. He was an artist who changed the dynamics of Iranian painting by distancing himself from the common traditions of past centuries. However, his new style gave rise to complete freedom of painting in the decades after and at the beginning of the Pahlaví era by a group of artists who went to Europe to study art. Furthermore, the creation of the University of Tehran and the Faculty of Fine Arts provided a new basis for the production of pure paint.

His tomb, designed by a famous Iranian architect, is located in Nishapur next to the tomb of Attar Nishapuri, an Iranian philosopher and poet, in the middle of a garden.

Jafar Panahi

Born on July 11, 1960 in Mianeh, Iran, he is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and editor. After several years directing short films and working as an assistant director to his compatriot Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi obtained international recognition with his first feature film in 1995. “The White Balloon” (Badkonak Sefid). The film won the Camera d’Or, the first major award for an Iranian film, at the Cannes Film Festival the same year.

At age twenty, Panahi was drafted into the Iranian military and served in the Iran-Iraq war. He worked as an army cinematographer from 1980 to 1982. In 1981, he was captured by Kurdish rebels fighting Iranian troops and spent 76 days in captivity. Based on his war experiences, he made a documentary about the war that was broadcast on television. After completing his military service, Panahi enrolled in the Tehran Higher School of Film and Television.

In 1992, Panahi made his first narrative short film, “Friend” (Doust), which is a tribute to Kiarostami’s first short film, “The Bread and Alley” (Nan va Kucheh), from 1970. That same year, Panahi directed his second Narrative short film, “The Last Exam” (Akharin Emtehan). Both films starred non-professional actors and won the awards for best film, best screenplay, best cinematography and best montage at the Iran National Television Festival in 1992. Panahi quickly became one of the most successful filmmakers. influential people from Iran. He is known for his humanistic approach to life in Iran, often focusing on the plight of children, the poor, and women. Although some of his films are banned in his home country, he has continued to receive international critical acclaim and has won numerous awards, including the Locarno International Film Festival’s Golden Leopard for “The Mirror” (Ayeneh) in 1997, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for “The Circle” (Dayereh), 2000, the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for “Crimson Gold” (Talaye Sorkh), 2003, the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Festival in Berlin for “Offside”, 2006, and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for “Taxi Tehran”, 2015.

After several years of conflict with the Iranian authorities over the content of his films, as well as several short-term arrests, finally in March 2010, Panahi was arrested with his wife, daughter and 15 guests who were staying with them. He was then accused of propaganda against the Iranian government. Despite all the support he received from filmmakers, film and human rights organizations around the world, Panahi was sentenced in December 2010 to six years in prison and prohibited from participating in any form of film production for 20 years. In 2011, he directed “This is not a movie”, a documentary feature film in the form of a daily video. In February 2013, the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival screened in competition “Pardé”, by Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi; Panahi won the Silver Bear for best screenplay.

Houshang Golshiri

Writer, critic and editor of fiction, he was born in Esfahan in 1937 and grew up in Abadan, southern Iran. From 1955 to 1974, Golshiri lived in Isfahan, where he graduated in Persian language and literature from the University of Isfahan. He then taught in primary and secondary schools in the surrounding cities.

Golshiri began writing novels in the late 1950s. His publication of short stories in “Payam-e Novin” and elsewhere in the early 1960s, the founding of “Jong-e Isfahan” (1965 – 1973 ), the leading literary magazine of the time published outside of Tehran, and its involvement in efforts to reduce censorship of imaginative literature gave it a reputation in literary circles. Golshiri’s first collection of short stories was “Mesl-e hamisheh” (As always) (1968). Then came the book that made him famous, his first novel “Prince Ehtejab” (1968/1969). The latter is a story of aristocratic decadence, which implies the inadequacy of the monarchy in Iran. Shortly after the production of the popular film based on the novel, the Pahlavi authorities arrested Golshiri and imprisoned him for almost six months.

In 1978, Golshiri left for the United States. Upon returning to Iran in early 1979, Golshiri married Farzaneh Taheri, whom he credited with writing his last works. In 1990, under a pseudonym, Golshiri published a translated short story titled “The King of the Enlightened,” an indictment of the Iranian monarchy, which questions Persian literature, the Tudeh party, and the Islamic Republic. After a long period of illness, Golshiri died on June 6, 2000 at the Iran Mehr Hospital in Tehran.

“Prince Etehjab harbored the frustrating certainty that it was all useless. Sempiternal would be the connotation that came from that black and white photo of his grandfather – as if it were an epidermis subjected to taxidermal fatum. That perennial image survived in all that panoply of books, photos and contradictory anecdotes. But he longed to know – not just for himself but also for Fakhronessa; he wanted to penetrate that epidermal substrate, dispel the darkness of photographic chiaroscuro and read the cryptic and recondite message hidden between the lines of those volumes. So he said out loud:

– “I have to do something about it.”

He coughed. The weight of his gaze fell on that ballet of eunuchs and valets and he bellowed: “I don’t want to see you.” “Go away”. Among the women of the harem and the slaves who fought each other (naked?) The roar of that ancient laughter could certainly be felt. Satisfied and exultant, he threw down some pieces and the agonizing female contest began, like a vivid, whitish mass. Every now and then a limb could be glimpsed and he smiled. As a gap opened in that crowd, the great ancestor threw new pieces. Beyond that scene, the grandfather remained upright and undaunted. Or would he be sitting? A vague sketch of a small and large infant, or a large and thin infant with thinning hair. And the eyes? Dressed in hat, boots, sword and polished buttons. And his preceptors, ministers and advisers.

And he coughed loudly, aware that it would be quite a chimera to try to apprehend the longed-for image of his grandfather, seated on a couch or mounted on a docile steed, or laughing life-giving in the midst of that bloody mass. “

 (Shazdeh Ehtejab Fragment)