Portrait Vafī
(c) Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2018.


Berlin, 2012
[Ü: Parwin Abkai]
Bremen, 2015
[Ü: Jutta Himmelreich]
Der Traum von Tibet
Bremen, 2018
[Ü: Jutta Himmelreich]

Faribā Vafī [ Iran ]

Fariba Vafi was born in 1963 in Tabriz, the capital of the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan. She is considered one of Iran’s leading and most popular writers. She had already began writing stories in her youth and published her first short stories in, among other publications, »Adineh«, the most important independent magazine for art, life, and politics in 1980s and 1990s Iran, co-founded by Faraj Sarkohi.

Vafi is the author of six novels and five story collections. Her début novel »Parande-ye-man« (2002; Eng. »My Bird«, 2009) has been translated into several languages and uses a first-person narrator to describe the burdens that fall onto a mother whose husband is obsessed with the thought of emigrating to Canada. An unexpected linguistic dimension opens up within the narrator’s introversion that harbors the discord between remaining and the supposed freedom abroad. With her minimalistic, poetically rich descriptions of ordinary sadness and inner conflict, Vafi’s voice is one of the most innovative in contemporary Persian literature; she offers Western readers glimpses inside the Middle East that are far from stereotypical. »Tarlan« (2006) is set during the political upheavals after the fall of the Shah. Once again, in an effort towards autonomy, the title heroine is forced to navigate between tradition and modernity. Out of fear of unemployment, the idealistic protagonist decides to enroll at the police academy. She can only find escape from the daily routines of the barracks and the social constraints thanks to her friend Rana, the books of Tolstoy or Mikhail Sholokhov, and her own writing ambitions. The conversations in which the aspiring police officers reveal their respective desires or negotiate their own possibilities for personal development flow into the young woman’s notes: »The only thing that makes our miserable life a little more bearable is our love of truth.« In an intimate, retrospective confession after a painful breakup, the narrator in »Rowya-ye-Tabbat« (2007; tr: Dream of Tibet) turns to her half-sister, where she finds refuge. Plagued by a recurring nightmare, Sholeh reflects on her own independence as she experiences personal growth through crisis while living with her family. As usual, Vafi opts for a quiet style of writing, but here, for the first time, she allows for temporal and spatial jumps and permits literary facts created within the fictional world to inextricably coexist with fantasy.

Vafi has been awarded the Hooshang Golshiri, Yalda, and Mehregan Adab prizes as well as the Isfahan Literary Award, inter alia. In 2017, she was awarded the newly founded Ahmad Mahmoud Prize and the LiBeraturpreis of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Vafi lives in Tehran.