Farideh Chalatbarie was born in Tehran in 1948. She had already begun writing stories when she was eight and never wanted to be anything other than a writer. Under pressure from her family, and because writing in Iran in those days was considered a hobby rather than a profession, she studied Mathematics in Tehran and then in Britain. She returned to Tehran shortly before the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and fulfilled her dream of making writing her profession with the founding of the publishing house Shabaviz in 1984. The publisher’s catalogue in its early years comprised literature for adults as well as picture books, whereas nowadays it only publishes illustrated books.
Farideh Chalatbarie is not only the publisher of Shabaviz books – she is also an author. She has written more than 50 books, two of which (»Tobeh« tr: The Jackal in the Lion’s Court, 2011 and »Otoboose avazi« tr: Bus Journey into the Unknown, 2012) have been translated into German. »Tobeh« is the story of a jackal who refuses to eat meat, and whose wisdom brings him great respect and a position at the royal court. Farideh Chalatbarie’s animal fable about the temptations of power is told from an unusual perspective and is accompanied by Bahar Achavan´s glowingly colourful illustrations.
»Otoboose avazi« tackles a similarly universal theme. A young bus driver on his first day at work has the mysterious job of bringing a group of dead people to hell. The author approaches themes of guilt and responsibility with poetic delicacy. This unusual setting for a children’s picture book is brought to life by Scharareh Chosrawani’s expressionist illustrations.
Shabaviz has published several hundred titles to date, many of which have been translated into Chinese, English, Spanish, French and German. Farideh Chalatbarie’s importance as both a publisher and an author cannot be overstated when it comes to the popularisation of extraordinary texts and above all illustrations which draw on Iran’s rich heritage of stories, myths and images. Countless talented Iranian authors and illustrators have been published by Shabaviz and thereby found their way into the international market. Farideh Chalatbarie has won several awards, including the New Horizons Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2004 for her entire work as a publisher. Farideh Chalatbarie lives in Tehran.
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