The prominent Iranian American leader will read at PAGE TURNER: The Asian American Literary Festival; will work to expand ties between the Iranian American and broader Asian American community
NEW YORK, November 3, 2009 - The Asian American Writers' Workshop, one of the most prominent Asian American groups in the country, announced the confirmation of Morteza Baharloo to the Workshop board. Baharloo is the author of the novel The Quince Seed Potion and is the first Iranian American to join the Workshop's board.
"We are thrilled to welcome novelist and Iranian American civic leader Morteza Baharloo to the leadership of The Asian American Writers' Workshop," said Executive Director Ken Chen. "The Asian American story is also an Iranian American story-and one that we are dedicated to telling in its entirety. Morteza's confirmation accordingly represents an increasing spotlight we've focused on the burgeoning Iranian American literary scene."
Mr. Baharloo, who has been a member of the Workshop since 2006, stated, "One of my objectives in being a part of The Asian American Writers' Workshop is to create a bridge between Iranian American writers with those from the rest of Asia. Many people in the West do not associate Iran with Asia, but within our community, our Asian identity is embedded in our nature."
While many historically important Asian American organizations often neglect Iranian Americans, the Workshop has featured a number of Iranian American writers over the past two years. Recent Iranian American writers who've participated in Workshop events include: Porochista Khakpour, author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects; Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of When Skateboards Will Be Free; and Queens College professor Roger Sedarat, author of Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Baharloo's confirmation comes as the Workshop is set to launch its most ambitious cultural project: PAGE TURNER: The Asian American Literary Festival, an unprecedented, all-day event showcasing more than thirty award-winning authors reading together for the first time. Mr. Baharloo is serving as the Event Chair of the festival's Gala Kick-off Dinner, where the Workshop will honor legendary editor Sonny Mehta and feature Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje. The dinner will be held on Friday, November 13, at the up-scale Indian and Latin American restaurant At Vermillion, 480 Lexington Avenue, New York City. More information and tickets are available at aaww.org/dinner or by calling (212) 494.0061.
On November 14, 2009, PAGE TURNER will continue with an all-day series of readings at the powerHouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn, culminating in The Twelfth Annual Asian American Literary Awards. Mr. Baharloo will read from his novel The Quince-Seed Potion as part of a special reading titled Sex and the Cities: Stories of Love and the Metropolis, alongside novelists Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt, which won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and Hari Kunzru, one of Granta Magazine's Top 25 Young British novelists. More information and tickets are available at pageturnerfest.org.
Mr. Baharloo is a contributor for an encyclopedia series related to the Islamic World for the Agha Khan University in London. He is currently working on a serialized work of nonfiction, The Shredded Robes of Honor, which will explore the history, globalization, and symbolism of the clothes and attire of Iran and Asia. He is active on two major Iranian American organizations: The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans (PAAIA) and the Iranian-American Political Action Committee (IAPAC).
About The Asian American Writers' Workshop. Founded in 1991, The Asian American Writers' Workshop (aaww.org) is the most prominent organization in the country dedicated to exceptional literature by writers of Asian descent. A community of sophisticated readers and writers, the Workshop serves as an advocate and support service for Asian American writers and an intellectual and cultural center for Asian American ideas. Recently ranked by the United Asian American Organizations as one of the top five Asian American groups in the country, the Workshop believes that Asian American literature is not simply a niche genre, but offers something irreplaceable for all readers, regardless of ethnicity or national origin. In other words, Asian American literature is for everyone, not just Asian Americans, and a vital chapter of the story of what it means for all of us to be American.
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