By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Sadegh Hedayat's birthday on 17th was celebrated by some of the big literary names in a small ceremony at khaneh honarmandan (the house of the artists) in downtown Tehran.
At this ceremony, awards were given to the winners of Sadegh Hedayat's competition which was conducted with the help of Sokhan Web Site and consisted of three categories: Best short Stories, Best Book Review and the Best Literary Critics.
The program started with a speech by well known poet Mr. Manouchehr Atashie. In his speech, Mr. Atashie referred to forms used in different stories, and emphasized that the roots and basis of Sadegh Hedayat's Boufe-Kour
is truly Persian in essence and spirit, even if novels are generally considered to be product of bourgeoisie. He also referred to closeness of the works of Sadegh Hedayat and Nima (the well known Iranian Modern Poet). He said that these two were one soul in two bodies.
Next speaker was Dr. Mohammad Sanatie, psychologist and literary scholar. Dr. Sanatie spoke of Death culture in Sadegh Hedayat's work. He stated that Death and suicide have always come along with Sadegh Hedayat, and that as a result many families forbade their young not to read his books as they thought it may lead to wrong paths. What I found most interesting about this speech was the reference to an unkind comment from Sohrab Sephri about Sadegh Hedayat. Dr. Sanatie also asked which nation goes to the graveyards for a picnic, and stated that it is no wonder that we have such strong relation with death and went on to say that we have reached a cultural dead-end.
In the second part of the program, we were entertained with a musical adaptation of Vagh Vagh Sahab (a story by Sadegh Hedayat) which was performed by Paezeh Theatrical Group under guidance of Mr. Serouse Ebrahim-zadeh and with the help of Mohammad AKbar-Shahi.
What was so surprising was that the two ladies sang along with the other gentlemen in the group as part of their performance. It was most intriguing and interesting rather than good or great, but I am glad to learn that young people are so active and soon we shall see such great good plays.
Finally, it was Mr. Jahangir Hedayat's turn. He is the nephew of Sadegh Hedayat and the Chair of Sadegh Hedayat Office in Tehran. Mr. Hedayat was the engine behind this year and last year ceremonies, the wonderful Prize Statue and many other activities regarding Sadegh Hedayat, including couple of wonderful books which came out last year from the family. He informed us about the competition categories, and the participants less than half of whom were from USA and Canada. He also informed the audience of the special award which has been set up and is to be awarded each year to one person who has worked and studied Sadegh Hedayat's work. This year the special prize was awarded to Dr. Homa Katouzian from Iranian Studies Centre at St. Anthony's College, Oxford, UK, who has passionately, systematically and continuously read and studied Hedayat's life and works and has many publications in this regards (please see below for the full list). The award was received by one of Dr. Katouzian's friends.
Then Mr. Amir-Hassan Cheltan read the jury's statement on the procedures and standards that were used to select the award winners. This was followed by reading the winners names in each of the three categories.
You can check the list of the winners at http://www.sokhan.com
And also check report on the ceremony at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/arts/story/2004/02/040219_pm-pa-hedayat.shtml
You may also wish to visit http://www.sadeghhedayat.com/
List of publications and articles by Dr. Katouzian on Hedayat and his works:
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