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Book: Night Letter

Set in Persia, Night Letter is a tale of slavery, mysticism, and a damsel in distress determined to save herself.

Night Letter

Author: Meghan Nuttall Sayres
Publisher: Nortia Press
Cloth (hardcover) with illustrations, map, discussion guide, and glossary
Young Adult Fiction (12 and up) | $18.99 | 312pp | 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-9848359-0-4
order from amazon

Anahita, a nomadic weaver living in early 20th-century Iran, is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding and thrown into the world of slavery and the mystical Sufi faith. Tinged with the fairytale quality of her award-winning Anahita's Woven Riddle (reissued by Nortia Press), Sayres weaves details of Persian culture with poetry to create the story of a damsel in distress determined to save herself.

Meghan Nuttall Sayres is a tapestry weaver who has traveled to Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East and Central Asia, where she has met with scholars, carpet weavers, dyemasters, and merchants to study the age-old techniques, symbolism, and Sufi poetry that infuse many rugs woven throughout the region. Her debut novelAnahita's Woven Riddle (reissued by Nortia Press in 2012) has been translated into Persian, Hebrew, and Italian. It was chosen as an American Library Association (ALA) Top Ten Best Books, an American Booksellers Association Book Sense/Indie Pick, and an ALA Amelia Bloomer Feminist Choice Book, among other awards. While researching Night Letter Meghan traveled by train across the deserts of Uzbekistan to the ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, plotting scenes and imagining Anahita's possible escape routes.

Meghan Nuttall Sayres in Samarkand, modern-day Uzbekistan

Other books by Meghan include Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland andDaughters of the Desert: Tales of Remarkable Women From the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Traditions (co-author). She is also editor of the anthology Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran. Meghan lives in Washington State. She writes regularly for her blog Writing and Wandering:

Meghan Nuttall Sayres' blogs: Pen America | Huffington Post

Praise for Night Letter:

"Intrigues, a kidnapping, and a rescue attempt kept me turning the pages of this novel. Long after finishing the book, I kept thinking about the inner wisdom Anahita receives that helps shape her destiny-the story resonates like a Sufi poem." - Marilyn Carpenter, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University, and founder of The Children's Book Compass

"Meghan Nuttall Sayres has once again shown her gift of story telling. Night Letter is a new epic love story that captures the mystique of Persia and the will of a woman to survive an unpredictable adventure." - Shahrokh Ahkami, editor, Persian Heritage Journal

“The history of modern Iran is unknown to most Americans, yet the call for justice based on true events dramatized in Night Letter is greatly relevant to the world today.” - Bob Greene, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and retired owner of the indie bookstore Book People of Moscow, ID

“A visual and literary feast.” - Fahimeh Amiri, Amiri Fine Arts, illustrator of The Prince Who Ran Away: The Story of Gautama Buddha

“Night Letter is an engrossing adventure of love and danger amidst the social turmoil of 19th century Persia.” - Constance Vidor, recipient of the U.S. Board on Books for Young People Bridge to Understanding Award, and Director of Library Services, Friends Seminary, New York City

Meghan Nuttall Sayres signing advance copies of Night Letter at the 2012 American Library Association meeting in Anaheim, California


With each word written Ms. Sayres sets the stage for this beautiful and epic love story. She has a gift of description that makes it effortless for the reader to place you in the scene of the book rather than outside, just as a reader. You immediately identify with each of the characters, but don’t let that fool you, the ending twists and turns like the history of Persia and only in the last chapters can you begin to formulate the heroines ending. A great entertaining read! - Persian Heritage Journal

"Shifts in narrative perspective from Anahita’s first-person account to the third-person narration of events taking place on her behalf, keep readers engaged in this action-laden adventure in a seldom-explored historical setting.” - Karen Coats, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“This whole book was a treat. It took a little bit longer to read as a book of its size (300-plus pages) than usual, but it wasn't necessarily slow; it was very rich with details about Persian culture and offset very nicely with elements of poetry from that area and time period. Anahita was likable and, even with the culture and time gap, relatable. I loved that it focused on the country in a time where women were starting to reach out for more freedom. The perspective shifted enough to get a nicely well-rounded view of the country and its situation, as well as the suitors. Each character-even the minor ones-was enormously unique and charismatic. Well, except for the ones that were deliberately written to be jerks. Anyway, if you're at all interested in Middle Eastern cultures, I couldn't recommend it more. A beautifully written book, all around. It's at Kettleson and Sitka High.” - Meghan (different Meghan!), An Average Blog About Awesome Things, the (un)official teen blog of the Kettleson Memorial Library

“I really got hooked to see where Anahita ended up and whether Arash could find her in time.Night Letter also uses riddles as a very key element (a riddle helps Anahita escape), and it also incorporates other elements of Persian culture, such as a mysterious Sufi brotherhood.

“Read Night Letter:

  • if you liked Anahita's Woven Riddle
  • if you like books with strong female protagonists
  • if you are interested in Persian culture and history”

“Five Stars” - Cleo Li-Schwartz, Cleo’s Literary Reviews

A note from the cover artist, Rashin Kheiriyeh: The atmosphere of Meghan Nuttall Sayres' novels, Night Letter and Anahita's Woven Riddle, are full of Persian tradition, so in designing the cover art I decided to paint in the Persian miniature style-one of the most enduring styles of Persian art-using colorful characters and oriental patterns. The most important elements of Persian miniatures are the dominance of light and the use of pure color. They are vibrant, like the stories themselves, like a Persian carpet full of adventure and mystery. I worked with handmade paper, pencil, and acrylic.


Publisher and Executive Editor:
Nathan Gonzalez is the founding publisher and executive editor of Nortia Press. As a writer of two nonfiction books on Middle Eastern politics, Nathan built Nortia as a platform for authors to creatively engage readers who are passionate about global issues. In addition to his work with Nortia, Nathan is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project, a part-time lecturer of Middle Eastern politics and international studies at California State University, Long Beach, and once in a blue moon an amateur composer of chamber and orchestral music. He holds a master of international affairs from Columbia University and speaks Spanish, Iranian Persian, German and Italian. (read letter in Persian by Nathan Gonzalez)


... Payvand News - 02/25/13 ... --

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