|1941: Soviet troops march into northern Iran. A provincial village sinks into chaos as troops start looting and power struggles begin. A gallows waits to hang people; a woman dies over a period of seven nights; she remembers, wanders through time and falls into a delirium of dying. In his novel "Das Jahr des Aufruhrs", which will be published by Suhrkamp Verlag in Germany this autumn, Abbas Maroufi has written a parable about power and despotism. He uses different levels of narration: that of the public-political events in the village and that of the private, individual fate of a woman. Maroufi, who was born in Tehran in 1957 and has been living in exile in Berlin since 1996, gained international recognition with his novel "Symphonie der Toten" at the latest. He is regarded as one of the leading representatives of Iranian literature.
In her novel "Parissa", author Fereshteh Sari depicts the modern, everyday urban life of a female novelist in Iran. Like Abbas Maroufi's works, her as-yet-unpublished book includes dream sequences and frequently almost surrealistic, fairy-tale-like elements that alternate between fiction and reality.
Her novel not only takes up the concrete everyday problems of a family, but also her inner-debate with her own life history. Taking the example of a married couple, she sketches out different positions on the present: the man flees into historical studies, whilst the woman confronts her everyday reality. Until 2001, Fereshteh Sari was a member of the board of the Iranian authors' association.
Abbas Maroufi was born in Tehran in 1957. He began writing while he was doing his military service. After studying dramatic literature, he was in charge of the music department at Teheran city hall. In 1990, he founded a cultural magazine entitled Gardun (the vault of heaven), which quickly became the most important forum for Iranian intellectuals. He faced repeated charges for his political convictions, and was finally even sentenced to death. His execution was, however, quashed thanks to the intervention of the then minister of culture and later president, Mohammed Chatami. Garduns licence was withdrawn in 1996 for having offended Islam, Maroufi was forbidden from publishing, sentenced to several months in prison and given twenty lashes of the whip. Thanks to international intervention, Maroufi did not have to serve the prison sentence. Shortly afterwards he moved to Germany. For several years now he has been living and working in Berlin. He runs a bookshop which has become a well-known centre for Iranian culture and literature. Maroufis intelligent articles on the political and social situation in Iran, which have appeared in the ZEIT and FAZ newspapers, the Spiegel magazine and other publications, have made him one of the best-known critical intellectuals among Iranian exiles. Recently, his books have been published again in Iran.
Fereshteh Sari was born in Tehran in 1956, where she still lives and works. She studied computer science, as well as Russian language and literature. She is currently working as an editor and translator. Sari began writing literary texts and poems in the early 1980s. Her first volume of lyric poetry, entitled Pejvak-e Sokut (Echo of Silence), appeared in 1987. Since then, she has published four more volumes of poetry, five novels, academic studies, countless stories and a popular book of childrens stories. In 1988, she was awarded a Hellmann/Hammett Grant by Human Rights Watch for her commitment to freedom of speech. Before Chatami was elected President, one of her novels was banned and several others were not allowed to be published. In 1999, as official representative of the independent Iranian writers association, she received the renowned Erich-Maria-Remarque Prize of the city of Osnabrück.
Abbas Maroufi (Choice):
The Year of the Uprising, novel, 2003
The Dark Side, novel, 1998
Symphony of the Dead, novel, 1996
Fereshteh Sari (Choice):
Tchehre-negâri-e donyâ (Portrait of the World), stories, 2002
Rus-hâ va nâme-hâ (Day and Letters), poems, 2002
Atr-e râsiâneh (The Smell of Fennel), novel, 1999
Mitrâ, Novel, 1998
Djomhuri-ye semestân (Winters Republic), poems 1993