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"The most important living writer of Iran"
Internationally admired poet and novelist, now living in exile
Wednesday, April 2, 2003
Reza Baraheni has published 50 books, in both English and Farsi, the official language of Iran. Another 20 books have been suppressed or confiscated by current Iranian authorities. An advocate of democratic freedoms and the rights of linguistic minorities, he was jailed and tortured under the former Shah. His release followed publicity generated by admiring fellow writers around the world, such as Allen Ginsberg. After several years of exile in the U.S., Baraheni returned to Iran after the Shah's overthrow to found a democratically oriented writers' association. He was jailed again, and some colleagues in their movement were put to death by firing squad. Later, stripped of his professorial position, Baraheni taught literary theory, feminist literature, and creative writing from an apartment building basement. He ultimately fled to Canada to escape right wing death squads.