We've permanently moved our in-person events to the street level of our store, making them fully accessible to all!

read more

Sassan Tabatabai with Sunil Sharma

Sassan Tabatabai with Sunil Sharma

Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with Sassan Tabatabai to discuss and celebrate the release of his translation of Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat. He will be in conversation with translator and scholar Sunil Sharma.

Written by one of the greatest Iranian writers of the twentieth century, Blind Owl tells a two-part story of an isolated narrator with a fragile relationship with time and reality. In first person, the narrator offers a string of hazy, dreamlike recollections fueled by opium and alcohol. He spends time painting the exact same scene on the covers of pen cases: an old man wearing a cape and turban sitting under a cypress tree, separated by a small stream from a beautiful woman in black who offers him a water lily. In a one-page transition, the reader finds the narrator covered in blood and waiting for the police to arrest him. In part two, readers glimpse the grim realities that unlock the mysteries of the first part. 

In a new translation that reflects Hedayat’s conversational, confessional tone, Blind Owl joins the ranks of classics by Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky that explore the dark recesses of the human psyche.

Sadegh Hedayat was born in Tehran in 1903 and is considered one of the most important Iranian prose writers of the twentieth century. He is celebrated as the father of modernist Persian literature and is credited with bringing modern Persian literature onto the international scene. In 1936, he published his most famous work, Blind Owl, as a hand-written volume with original illustrations. Hedayat took his own life in Paris in 1951.

Sassan Tabatabai was born in Tehran in 1967 and has been living in the United States since 1980. He is a poet, a translator, and a scholar of Medieval Persian literature. He is Master Lecturer in World Languages and Literatures and the Core Curriculum, and Coordinator of the Persian Language Program at Boston University. Tabatabai is the author of Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and his PoetryUzunburun: PoemsSufi Haiku, and translator of the novel Blind Owl by Sadeq Hedayat. His forthcoming books, both scheduled for release in spring 2023, are Ferry to Malta: Poems and Translations, and a Persian translation of the poetry of David Ferry. 

Moderator Sunil Sharma teaches Persian and South Asian literature in the Department of World Languages & Literatures at Boston University. His areas of research are poetry and court cultures, history of the book, and travel writing. Apart from research articles and books, he has also published translations: In the Bazaar of Love includes his translations from the Persian and medieval Hindi poetry of the iconic poet Amir Khusraw; he has also translated travelogues written by Iranian and Indian women, which appear in the recently published anthology, Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women. He aspires to write historical fiction someday.