Writers & Readers: Firoozeh Dumas

Submitted by Cleveland Publi... on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 10:04.
03/15/2009 - 14:00
03/15/2009 - 15:00

Firoozeh Dumas was born in Abadan, Iran, and moved to Whittier, California, with her family in the 1970s. She later attended the University of California at Berkeley where she met and married a Frenchman.


Dumas grew up listening to her father, a former Rhodes scholar, tell colorful tales of his life as a foreign student in the United States. In 2001, as a gift for her two children and with no prior writing experience, she decided to write her own stories of the cultural divide. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (2003) was the highly popular end result.

Publishers Weekly said “the best parts will make readers laugh out loud,” and Jimmy Carter called Funny in Farsi “a humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love—of family, country and heritage.” The book made the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and was a finalist for the PEN/USA award and the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

Firoozeh Dumas’s second book, Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad (2008) was greeted with praise by critics and readers around the country. The San Francisco Chronicle noted her “wry humor shorn of sentimentality,” while the San Jose Mercury News said, “the book brings us closer to discovering what it means to be an American.”

Dumas produced a one-woman show based on her writings and has toured the country speaking at conferences, schools, libraries, churches, synagogues and Islamic centers. Her commentaries have been broadcast on NPR and published in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and Lifetime Magazine.


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Farsi, Parsi

  I recently watched a film about a major Persian film star, Googoosh  Iran's Daughter.  I was startled to recognize some of the language in the film as reminiscent of the language I heard my grandparents speak to me as a child.  I was also startled to recognize the face of author Orhan Pamuk's mother as almost identical to the face of my grandmother from Hungary. 

There are so many cross-cultural references to our lives.  I look forward to this presentation and, in anticipation, I plan to read:

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (2003)

Place names?

  Can anyone explain to me where the names Iran and Iraq came about for the regions once called Persia and Assyria?

Update: I guess this explains it...sort of...

Continental World Tour

Learn a bit about the world and Iran by visiting Cleveland Public Library for the Writers and Readers Series and, then, book a ticket for the Cleveland International Film Festival.


The feature film from Iran is entitled Loose Rope.  Click on the image for more world movies.

Fuel the Enlightenment