Writing in the ‘Host’ Language

Over the years since I came to England in 1993 as a political refugee from Iran, I’ve been to many fiction or creative writing classes and seminars, where I was the only person who did not have English as their first language.

The teachers and the other students always welcomed me and I usually found the classes very helpful. It took me a while, but I began to wonder why no other non-native English language speakers came to these classes. Continue reading Writing in the ‘Host’ Language

Immigrants Poems

Nasrin Parvaz became a civil rights activist when the Islamic regime took power in 1979. She was arrested in 1982, tortured and spent eight years in prison. After her release in 1990, Nasrin resumed her activities and once again she found herself being followed by Islamic guards. She realized she could no longer stay in Iran and she fled here to England, where she claimed asylum in 1993. Nasrin’s prison memoir was published in Farsi in 2002. A summary of her memoir was published in Feminist Review (number 73) in 2003; and it was published in Italian in 2006 by Effedue Edizioni. Nasrin’s stories appeared in Exiled Writers Ink, and two of her poems were published in Over Land, Over Sea, Poems for those seeking refuge, published by Five Leaves, in 2015. Continue reading Immigrants Poems

Dangerous Poems: Nasrin Parvaz on Forugh Farrokhzad

Read Forugh Farrokhzad’s poem ‘In Darkness’ here, and browse the Iranian focus of MPT ‘Scorched Glass’

Forugh Farrokhzad, poet and film director, was born in 1935 in Tehran, Iran. She died in 1967. Her books, along with those by some other poets and writers, are banned from book exhibitions in Tehran. Continue reading Dangerous Poems: Nasrin Parvaz on Forugh Farrokhzad

Working with Refugees

For the Saturday Forensic Forum 2013

I was born in Iran. I first came to the UK in 1978, at the age of 20, in order to
study. When the revolution broke out the following year I returned to Iran for a
brief visit to my family, not realising that it would be 15 years before I would
come to Britain again – as an exile. In post-revolutionary Iran I became active in
the field of women’s rights and civil rights, as a result of which I was arrested in
1982. I was tortured and sentenced to execution. My life was saved by the
intervention of my father, who managed to get my sentence reduced to
imprisonment. I was released in 1990 after spending eight years in prison. Continue reading Working with Refugees

‘Blank Contracts’: Extreme Exploitation in Iran

We live in a universal economic system, called capitalism, yet depth of workers’ exploitation differs hugely in countries like UK from Iran. In Iran the Islamic regime makes sure the workers do not have any rights, so that the capital makes the most profit. Workers situation in Iran is a good example to understand why capital moves from countries like UK to countries such as Iran with cheap labour; and why the Western governments need to support despotism in Iran to guaranty the extreme exploitation of workers. Continue reading ‘Blank Contracts’: Extreme Exploitation in Iran

Clare Short

On 22 August I was invited to the Edinburgh Book Festival for a reading of my writing at Amnesty’s annual ‘Imprisoned Writers’ events. Clare Short was among the readers. I felt uneasy at the thought of Clare Short reading my work, because when she went to Iran she wore a headscarf at a time when women there were being harassed, imprisoned and tortured for not observing hejab properly. I felt she could not possibly represent me and my point of view. She is too conservative and my piece is part of a story about the confrontation of an ex-prisoner with his torturer. How could she understand such a piece while she is in power, power that justifies prison and torture, if not at home, then in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay? Continue reading Clare Short

Speech in 20th Anniversary of Women Against Pit Closures

In Solidarity with women against pit closures
Struggle against Islamic regime in Iran

In 1984, I was in an Islamic prison in Iran when I saw on TV miners fighting with police and their horses in the UK. The Islamic regime broadcasted the brutality of Thatcher’s regime in suppressing the miners’ movement so that people would see that it is not only the Islamic regime that crushes working class movements. Continue reading Speech in 20th Anniversary of Women Against Pit Closures