Author and filmmaker Roya Hakakian to speak on growing up Jewish in post-revolutionary Iran


RoyaThe Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center in Judaic Studies at Fairfield University presents Roya Hakakian, author, poet, and documentary filmmaker, on Monday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. Her lecture, "Journey from the Land of No: A Jewish Girl Caught in Revolutionary Iran," captures life growing up as a Jewish child in post-revolutionary Iran. Admission is free, but seating is limited. For reservations, please call the Bennett Center at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066.

Hakakian's much lauded memoir of the same name was a Barnes & Noble Pick of the Week, one of "Ms. Magazine's" Must Reads of the Summer, among "Publishers Weekly's" Best Books of the Year, and "Elle Magazine's" Best Nonfiction Book of 2004.

Just 12 years old when the revolution swept through Tehran, Hakakian writes about discovering a swastika painted on the wall of her peaceful alley and seeing her classmates, accused of reading blasphemous books, removed from school by Islamic Morality Guards. Later a Persian Cosmopolitan teacher - the school administrator's spy - would tell her that she was spared because the teacher admired her writing.

Raised in a family rich in literature and poetry, her memoir has been described as "a coming-of-age story about one young, deeply intelligent and perceptive girl's attempt to find an authentic voice of her own at a time of cultural closing and repression." Hakakian came to the United States in May 1985 on political asylum.

Now a fellow at Yale University's Humanities Center, Hakakian, is also noted for her work as a filmmaker and poet. She received a commission from UNICEF for Armed and Innocent, her most recent film that focuses on the involvement of underage children in wars around the world. Her first collection of poetry, For the Sake of Water, received an honorable mention in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World.

Hakakian is a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center and serves on the board of Refugees International. She speaks on the subject of the Middle East and human rights and has appeared on CSPAN-Book TV, CNN International, CBS Early Show, and Now with Bill Moyers.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 6, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 173