Your art or your life? Your passion or your home? Expression or exile?
These were the questions faced by young scholars, artists and intellectuals in Iran in the 1970s. At a time Americans celebrated 200 years of freedom, thousands of Iranians had to decide whether to flee the country's new fundamentalist Islamic regime.
Among those who chose exile and expression over home and repression stood Farnoosh Moshiri, a playwright, poet and short story author. Moshiri will be the guest speaker April 24 at the final installment of the University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Spring Reading Series.
The public is invited to hear about her participation in the Diaspora and subsequent life as a writer in exile at noon in the Alcorn Auditorium of UHV's University West building, 3007 N. Ben Wilson. The event is free, and light refreshments will be served.
Moshiri also will be reading excerpts from her works "The Bathhouse" and "Against Gravity" from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main St.
Born to a literary family in Tehran, Iran, Moshiri fled that country after the fall of the Shah of Iran. Her plays, short stories and poems were published in Iranian literary magazines before the 1979 revolution and in anthologies published outside Iran in the 1980s.
In 1983, she fled her country after a massive arrest of secular intellectuals, feminists and political activists. She now teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Houston.
"Hearing such a harrowing story from someone who was actually there makes history come alive," said Jeffrey Di Leo, editor/publisher of ABR and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. "To actually have the author sitting in front of you reading her own words takes this history to a different level of experience."
Providing such an experience to UHV students and the surrounding community is one of the great ideals behind the lecture series, he said.
"The events that Dr. Moshiri lived through are pivotal moments in history that continue to shape global relations to this day," UHV President Tim Hudson said. "Our students won't soon forget the time they spend listening to her."
UHV hosts the lectures in hopes of providing students and community members with those types of experiences, he said.
"That's why I'm so proud to have ABR and the lecture series here at UHV," Hudson said. "We are indebted to our generous donors who continue to support this entire enterprise."
The UHV/ABR Reading Series brings nationally recognized writers to the Victoria campus of UHV for several days. Scheduled events include author roundtable discussions with UHV students, faculty and community members; consultations with graduate, upper-division and high school students; community lectures; and invitation-only readings/lecture receptions.
Past speakers for the UHV/ABR Reading Series include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Oshinsky, and author and editor Dagoberto Gilb.
The 2008/2009 UHV/ABR Reading Series will begin in August. Speakers are expected to be announced in July.
ABR is an internationally distributed literary journal with a circulation of about 8,000.
For more information on Moshiri's presentation or the UHV/ABR Reading Series, contact ABR Managing Editor Charles Alcorn III at (361) 570-4100.