Born in England. Education: Oxford University, B.A.; University of Kent, Canterbury, M.A.
Home—London, England. Office—SustainAbility, 20-22 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4EB, England.
Writer, consultant. SustainAbility (risk management consulting firm), London, England, director. Has consulted for companies, including Shell, Novo Nordisk, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Penguin Ketchum, and Toyota, in sustainable development and corporate responsibility. Worked for the Iraqi Opposition, 1990s. Previously worked for Ketchum, as CSR Director, and for the consultant firm URS/Dames & Moore.
The Saffron Kitchen (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2007.
A consultant in sustainable development and corporate responsibility, British-born Yasmin Crowther debuted as a novelist with her 2006 The Saffron Kitchen. Crowther, whose mother is Iranian and father British, portrays the life of Maryam, the daughter of an Iranian general. Maryam grew up in a life of privilege until a mild indiscretion with her tutor, Ali—with whom she was infatuated—shamed the family. Disowned, she became a nurse and moved to England as a young woman where she married Edward. This past history returns to haunt Maryam when her deceased sister's son, Saeed, comes to stay with Maryam, Edward, and their daughter, Sara, in London. Filled with despair, Saeed at one point tries to kill himself by jumping from the Thames Bridge. Attempting to save him, Sara receives a kick in the stomach that kills her unborn baby. This cruel cycle of events sends Maryam back to the small Iranian town where she once spent comfortable summers; she is devastated at the thought that her own actions years ago set all these events in motion.
Critics on both sides of the Atlantic had high praise for Crowther's first novel. A reviewer for London's Telegraph called The Saffron Kitchen an "impressive debut," and one that "marks Yasmin Crowther out as a novelist of exceptional honesty and grace." Similarly, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, reviewing the novel in the Financial Times, felt that Crowther "tells this cross-cultural drama with skill." Reviewing the title in Booklist, Donna Seaman found it "spellbinding," and further praised Crowther's "illuminating and affecting" examination of a life in two cultures. Likewise, a Publishers Weekly contributor thought the author "powerfully depicts Maryam's wrenching romantic and nationalistic longings." Further praise came from Entertainment Weekly critic Jessica Shaw, who termed this first novel "beautiful" and a "heartfelt story." Carlo Wolff, writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Online, also lauded The Saffron Kitchen, noting that this "rich debut is a modest, careful fiction that celebrates family and shows, in telling detail, how difficult keeping a family together can be." In a BookBrowse.com interview, Crowther revealed part of the inspiration for her novel: "I've always been acutely aware of how privileged my life has been compared to my [Iranian] grandmothers…. It seems amazing to me that I have all that choice and freedom, when my grandmothers had so little. I suppose my book is a gift back to them in a way, although I scarcely knew them."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of The Saffron Kitchen, p. 23.
Entertainment Weekly, January 12, 2007, Jessica Shaw, review of The Saffron Kitchen, p. 83.
Financial Times, May 13, 2006, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, review of The Saffron Kitchen, p. 33.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of The Saffron Kitchen, p. 977.
PR Newswire, January 19, 2004, "Sustainability Experts John Elkington and Yasmin Crowther to Keynote Specialty Coffee Conference and Exhibition."
Publishers Weekly, October 2, 2006, review of The Saffron Kitchen, p. 38; October 23, 2006, Richard Labonte, "PW Talks to Yasmin Crowther," p. 29.
Vogue, January, 2007, Megan O'Grady, "Vogue 25: The Cultural Highlights of 2007," p. 115.
Telegraph (London, England), April 30, 2006, review of The Saffron Kitchen.
BookBrowse.com,http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (January 24, 2007), "A Conversation with Yasmin Crowther."
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (April 9, 2007), Janelle Martin, review of The Saffron Kitchen.
Iranian.com,http://www.iranian.com/ (February 9, 2007), Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani, review of The Saffron Kitchen.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Online,http://www.postgazette.com/ (January 14, 2007), Carlo Wolff, review of The Saffron Kitchen.
SustainAbility,http://www.sustainability.com/ (April 9, 2007), "Yasmin Crowther."