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The Power of Intention: An Interview with Nahid Rachlin author of the memoir Persian Girls


Tonights Guest Nahid Rachlin talks about her memoir Persian Girls and her intention behind writing this important book. We also discussed staying motivated as a writer and how to create your own rewards when any external reward can seem distant and at times unreachable. You can read more reviews and excerpts from her writing here.


"Persian Girls, reads like a novel -- suspenseful, vivid, heartbreaking. In "Persian Girls, Rachlin chronicles her choices and those made by her sisters, her mother and her aunts, throwing the door to her family's home wide open. Readers who follow her through will be wiser, and moved."


Selected by Christopher Merrill, the Director of Iowa International Writing Program as one of the best four books of the year. "If you want to know what it was like to grow up in Iran this is the book to read. Rachlin, the author of five previous works of fiction, including the much acclaimed Foreigner, begins her story at the age of nine, when she was taken away from the only mother she had ever known—her aunt, as it happens—and returned to a family in which the prospects of her becoming a writer were, at best, dim. But her portrait of the artist in an Islamic country on the verge of dramatic change is filled with light."

Publishers Weekly:

"This lyrical and disturbing memoir by the author of four novels (Foreigner , etc.) tells the story of an Iranian girl growing up in a culture where, despite the Westernizing reforms of the Shah, women had little power or autonomy... Exuding the melancholy of an outsider, this memoir gives American readers rare insight into Iranians' ambivalence toward the United States, the desire for American freedom clashing with resentment of American hegemony."

BIO (from

Nahid Rachlin attended Columbia University Writing Program on a Doubleday-Columbia Fellowship and then went on to Stanford University MFA program on a Stegner Fellowship. Her publications include a memoir, PERSIAN GIRLS (Penguin), four novels, JUMPING OVER FIRE (City Lights), FOREIGNER (W.W. Norton), MARRIED TO A STRANGER (E.P.Dutton-City Lights), THE HEART'S DESIRE (City Lights), and a collection of short stories, VEILS (City Lights). Her individual short stories have appeared in more than fifty magazines, including The Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Redbook, Shenandoah. One of her stories was adopted by Symphony Space, “Selected Shorts,” and was aired on NPR’s around the country. Her work has received favorable reviews in major magazines and newspapers and adopted in college courses. They have been translated into Portuguese, Polish, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, and Persian. She has been interviewed in NPR stations such as All Things Considered (Terry Gross), P&W magazine, Writers Chronicle. She has written reviews and essays for New York Times, Newsday, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Other grants and awards she has received include the Bennet Cerf Award, PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. She teaches creative writing workshops in a variety of conferences, including the Paris Summer Writers Workshop, Geneva, Switzerland Writers Conference, Art International in Assisi, Italy, Antioch Writers Workshop, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Iowa Festival Writers Conference, Vermont College Postgraduate Writers Conference, Yale Summer Writers Conference, Sanibel Island Writers Conference. She taught at Barnard College as a writer-in-residence and at Yale University seminar programs. Currently she teaches creative writing at the New School University.



Learn more about host Karmen Lizzul at You can download a free e-book to help get you started on writing your book here.


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