22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Mohammad Mohammad Ali

Mohammad Mohammad Ali was born into a large family in Teheran in 1948. His father was a businessman, and his mother a housewife. His mother loved ancient Persian tales and epics, which she shared with her children. It was a teacher who wrote poetry and prose who awakened Mohammad Ali’s interest in literature and he began to write while he was still at school. A short story he entered in a literary competition won the first prize in his district. At grammar school he focused on contemporary Iranian authors but was also introduced to the works of Jack London and Ernest Hemingway. Mohammad Ali wrote theatrical pieces and starred as an actor himself. He received a special award for his journalistic contribution to the school yearbook.

His first volume of stories, »There are Wolves in Handabad«, appeared in 1974. Four years later a second volume, »The Spirits«, was published. While studying Politics and Sociology, Mohammad Ali worked as a civil servant. In 1977 he joined the Iranian Writers’ Association. That same year he participated in the famous Teheran Goethe Institute lectures, during which, around 60 banned Iranian authors read from their works as a protest against the Schah’s dictatorship and censorship. In 1980 Mohammad Ali became chief editor of the literary journal »Bordj« (tower), in which he described his experience during his trip to the Soviet Union. The third volume of his short stories, »Retirement«, and a collection of essays, »Copper«, were published in 1987. In 1991 the novel »Thunder and Lightning Without Rain« and the story »The Hidden Role« appeared. »The Second Eye« followed in 1994.

Mohammad Ali was one of the 134 Iranian writers to sign a public declaration circulated as a protest against censorship in Iran. It caused an international stir. This petition heralded a new phase of activity in the prohibited Writers’ Association. The association was officially recognized in the course of the reform. This did not prevent the Iranian secret service from having two active members of the group killed. However, a planned assassination attempt on 21 authors travelling by bus to a writers’ congress in Armenia failed. Mohammad Ali, one of the targets, published a report on the perilous journey in the daily newspaper »Khordad«. In 1997 his the novel »Wet beliefs of a Dead Man« was published, in 1998 the story collection »Regret from the Opposite Side«, and one year later his revised report of his journey through the Soviet Union, »Five Years Before 1985«. His latest novel, »Naghshe Penhan«, was published in 2001. Mohammad Ali lives with his wife and two children in Teheran.

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