Moshiri, Farnoosh 1951–

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Moshiri, Farnoosh 1951–


Born July 14, 1951, in Tehran, Iran; U.S. citizen; daughter of Mansour (a writer and oil company executive) and Nasrin Hakim (a homemaker) Moshiri; married Akbar Afra, 1973 (divorced, 1986); married David Rossi, May, 1990; children: (first marriage) Anoosh Afra (son). Ethnicity: "Persian (Iranian)." Education: College of Dramatic Arts, Tehran, Iran, B.A., 1974; University of Iowa, M.A., 1979; University of Houston, M.F.A., 1999. Hobbies and other interests: Dance, painting.


Office—University of Houston Downtown, 1 Main St., Houston, TX 77002. E-mail—[email protected].


University of Houston Downtown, Houston, TX, lecturer, 1990—. Previously taught at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. Journalist and translator.


Donald Barthelme Memorial Fellowship for fiction; Barbara Deming Award for Women Who Write for Peace and Social Justice; Black Heron Award for social fiction; Valiente Award.


At the Wall of the Almighty (novel), Interlink Books (New York, NY), 2000.

The Bathhouse (novella), Black Heron Press (Seattle, WA), 2001.

The Crazy Dervish and the Pomegranate Tree (short stories), Black Heron Press (Seattle, WA), 2004.

Against Gravity (novel), Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2006.


Farnoosh Moshiri once told CA: "The primary motivation for me to write is always a strong urge, a need. I have to write, I don't have any other alternative. Writing, making up stories, creating people and places are therapeutic for me.

"Besides the classics of novel writing (Tolstoy, Balzac, etc.), I find my influences among serious, literary contemporary novelists—American and international. To mention a few names: Don DeLillo, Coetzee, Denis Johnson, Michael Cunningham, Alice Monroe, et cetera.

"For me, the process of writing each novel is different. Sometimes I write the first draft very fast in forty days or two months. Sometimes I linger on the draft and work more slowly. I do a lot of revisions—especially a detailed work on language. The subject of my first two books is prison. What inspired me was the tragic fate of some of my friends and family who were imprisoned as political prisoners in my country of origin (Iran) and were tortured and executed because of their beliefs.

"So, freedom, confinement, and struggle for justice have been themes of my writings."

Moshiri later added: "My father was a writer and my uncle a poet. When I was growing up I was fascinated with their work, and also there were many books always available for me and I'd spent most of my time reading them. My writing process begins with an idea, or sometimes only one sentence. I write many notes, think, and try to weave a story. I usually don't start writing until I have the whole thing ready and clear in my head.

"The most surprising thing I've learned is that talent is something you can lose. It's work and only work that keeps talent alive and well. My favorite book is my first novel, At the Wall of the Almighty. I wrote this book almost without much effort. It came to me.

"I'd like my readers to enjoy reading them and to think and contemplate about the lives of the characters. A literary novel gives the reader more than just an interesting story—a lasting effect, a thought, a question. A good book, ideally, changes the reader's mind, if only a little. This is what I hope I can achieve."



Author: Farnoosh Moshiri, (February 18, 2008).