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Author Talk: Shokoofeh Azar (The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree)

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Richmond Library

415 Church St

Richmond, VIC 3121

Australia

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An acclaimed writer, journalist and the first Iranian woman to backpack and hitchhike along the Silk Road, Shokoofeh Azar is the shining star of Iranian literature.

Nominated for the Stella Prize in 2017, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is a powerful and evocative story set in Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Using the magical realism style of classical Persian storytelling, Azar draws the reader into the heart of a family caught in the post-revolutionary chaos and brutality that sweeps across an ancient land and its people.

In 2011, Shokoofeh was forced to leave Iran with her family and was accepted as a political refugee by Australia. Shokoofeh will be interviewed by Triple R radio producer and presenter Elizabeth McCarthy.

Bookings essential. You do not need to bring a ticket with you to this event.


Shokoofeh Azar was born into an educated middle-class family in Iran in 1972, just 7 years before the Islamic revolution. She spent her early years in the countryside after the family moved from Tehran, experiencing a wonderfully free childhood in close communion with nature (the love of forests and mountains as spaces of spiritual and emotional succour are themes in her life, her paintings and The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree).

Shokoofeh’s early interest in writing and art (she is an accomplished painter and ceramic artist who has successfully exhibited and taught painting during her 7 years in Perth where she lived till December 2017) was sparked by her father who was an Iranian intellectual, author and poet.

After graduating in Literature from university, Shokoofeh worked as a researcher, writer and editor for the Persian Literary Encyclopedia, before becoming a journalist – which had been her life goal. She worked for 12 years for independent newspapers in Tehran; and published two collections of short stories; one children’s book; and a Companion in Writing and Editing Essays in the Persian Literary Encyclopedia, The last won the prize for The Best Book in Iran in 1997.

In 2004, Shokoofeh became the first Iranian woman to backpack and hitchhike along the Silk Road: from Iran to Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan and India. Reports and photos of this 3-month journey were published extensively in the Iranian media to great acclaim.

Nine years ago, she and her colleagues at the newspaper were jailed (some of them still languish in prison to this day). She was jailed 3 times; the last time she was put in isolation for 3 months.

She came to Australia as a refugee by boat and was detained on Christmas Island. A year after her release she started writing The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree. She is now an Australian citizen and living in Geelong, Victoria.


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If you have accessibility questions or requirements, please contact Sarah Ernst, Library Development & Projects Officer, at yarralibraries@yarracity.vic.gov.au or on 1300 695 427.

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Richmond Library

415 Church St

Richmond, VIC 3121

Australia

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