22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Athena Farrokhzad

Portrait Athena Farrokhzad
© Carla Orrego Veliz

Poet, playwright, translator, and literary critic Athena Farrokhzad was born in Tehran in 1983, grew up in Gothenburg and lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2013, she published her collection of poems »Vitsvit« (Eng. » White Blight«, 2015), which the author described as a »narrative poem«. The debut has been translated into some 15 languages and adapted for the stage several times. Farrokhzad addresses violence, language, desire and heritage, in the context of revolution, war, migration and racism, in expressive, ambiguous poetic imagery. She alternates between a mother, grandmother, father, uncle, and brother, who formulate their own views in a linguistically diverse manner. The daughter of the family, however, remains silent, linking the various voices into a polyphonic work from which war, the resulting brutalization of language, and disorientation emerge as the dominant experiences of emigration: »you came speechless, speechless shall you leave«. Farrokhzad’s second book, »Trado« (2016), which she co-authored with Romanian poet Svetlana Cârstean, was awarded the Romanian Cultural Radio Prize. In 2018, she wrote her »Brev till Europa« (tr: Letter to Europe), commissioned by a Slovenian poetry festival in collaboration with the Berlin-based Allianz Kulturstiftung. In her latest collection of poetry, »I rörelse« (2019; tr: On the Move), she uses a rhythmic language full of pathos and sad irony to reflect on various political and personal events ranging from the individual to the collective, from tradition to innovation.

Farrokhzad has edited a volume of queer poetry (»Omslag«, 2009, with Linn Hansén) and an introduction to Swedish poetry for young adults (»Berör och förstör«, 2019, with Kristofer Folkhammar). She teaches poetry and theory at Biskops-Arnö writing school and writes literary criticism for »Dagens Nyheter«. She has translated authors such as Marguerite Duras, Juliana Spahr, Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich to Swedish. Her plays have been staged in many theatres in the Nordic countries. She is a 2021 guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.