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Upcoming Events with Visiting Writer-in-Residence Porochista Khakpour

Porochista KhakpourA Reading of Recent Work
Wednesday September 27 at 5:00 PM, Kresge Hall 1-515 (The Forum), 1880 Campus Drive

Navigating Identities: On Writing About Illness & Identity as a Woman of Color
Wednesday October 4 at 5:00 PM, Kresge Hall 1-515 (The Forum), 1880 Campus Drive

How to Write Iranian-America — A Conversation with Porochista Khakpour
Monday October 9 at 12:00 PM, Kresge Hall 1-515 (The Forum), 1880 Campus Drive

All events are free of charge and open to the public.

The critically acclaimed novelist Porochista Khakpour will be a Visiting Writer-in-Residence at the Center for the Writing Arts (CWA) and the Program in Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) from September 27 through October 15, 2017. Her visit will feature a series of fiction-writing workshops, literary readings and public lectures.

Khakpour’s residency represents the third in a series of writers hosted jointly by the CWA and MENA. In 2016, Rabih Alameddine, the Lebanese-American novelist, was in residence for the spring quarter. During the spring quarter 2017, Moroccan playwright, novelist, and journalist Driss Ksikes was in residence at CWA and MENA. All writers in the series teach writing workshops for Northwestern students, share their own new work publicly in readings and performances, and lecture in public forums on a range of topics.

“This collaboration between the Center for the Writing Arts and MENA allows us to bring leading writers from the Middle East, North Africa, and writers of the Arab and Iranian diaspora to campus and for our students and community to engage closely with them in a variety of settings and formats,” said Brian Edwards, MENA director and Crown Professor in Middle East Studies.

“The Iranian-American writer Porochista Khakpour is one of the most compelling writers of her generation and has a unique literary voice,” Edwards said. “Those who do not yet know her work will find themselves riveted by her fiction and essays.”

Porochista Khakpour is the author of two award-winning novels, Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 2007) and The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014), and a forthcoming memoir titled Sick, to be published by HarperCollins in May 2018. 

Sons and Other Flammable Objects was a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” a Chicago Tribune “Fall’s Best” selection, and a 2007 California Book Award winner, and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.

The Last Illusion was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014, a Buzzfeed Best Fiction Book of 2014, an NPR Best Book of 2014, and an Electric Literature Best Book of 2014. It was also one of’s “Mind-Blowing Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Watch Out For in 2015,” Flavorwire’s “50 Excellent Fabulist Novels Everyone Should Read,” and the Huffington Post’s “30 Books You NEED to Read in 2014.”

In addition to her novels, Khakpour’s essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, Bookforum, VICE, The Paris Review, Slate, Salon, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Guernica, Bidoun,,, and many other publications. Her recent essay “How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay,” published in May 2017 at Catapult, has garnered significant attention in the past month since it was published.

Khakpour is the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose). In 2014, she was one of Dazed’s “Top 10 American Writers You Need to Read This Year,” one of Buzzfeed’s “32 Essential Asian-American Writers You Need to Be Reading,” a Buzzfeed Community/OpenRoadMedia “10 Amazing Female Novelists Under 50,” and one of Entropy’s “Literary Advocates” in 2014 and 2016.

She has taught creative writing and literature at Bard (where she was Writer-in-Residence from 2014-2017),  as well as several other leading universities and colleges including Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Sarah Lawrence, and the University of Leipzig, where she was a Picador Guest Professor. She is currently faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA.

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