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Roya Hakakian

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Title: Roya Hakakian  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Persian Jews, List of Iranian women, World Affairs, Mykonos restaurant assassinations, List of Iranian women writers
Collection: 1966 Births, American Documentary Filmmakers, American Journalists, American Memoirists, American People of Iranian-Jewish Descent, American Women Journalists, Brooklyn College Alumni, Guggenheim Fellows, Hunter College Alumni, Iranian Documentary Filmmakers, Iranian Emigrants to the United States, Iranian Expatriates in the United States, Iranian Human Rights Activists, Iranian Jews, Iranian Poets, Iranian Women Writers, Living People, Persian Literature, Women Memoirists, Women Poets
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Roya Hakakian

Roya Hakakian
Roya Hakakian
Born Persian: رویا حکاکیان‎‎
ca. 1966
Tehran, Iran
Occupation Poet, Journalist, Writer
Language Persian, English
Ethnicity Persian Jew
Citizenship American
Alma mater Brooklyn College, Hunter College
Genre Poetry, Non-fiction
Notable works

Journey from the Land of No, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, Persian: بخاطر آب‎‎ (For the Sake of Water),

Persian: نامی سزاوار نیایش‎‎ (A Name to Worship)
Notable awards 2004 Best Book of the Year (Publishers Weekly), 2004 Best Non-fiction Book of the Year (Elle), 2006 Latifeh Yarshater Book Award (Persian Heritage Foundation), 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship in Non-fiction

Roya Hakakian (Persian: رویا حکاکیان‎‎); born 1966 in Tehran, Iran) is an Iranian-American poet, journalist and writer living in the United States. A lauded Persian poet turned television producer with programs like 60 Minutes, Hakakian became well known for her memoir, Journey from the Land of No in 2004. Her essays on Iranian issues appear in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and on NPR. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008,[1] she published Assassins of the Turquoise Palace in 2011, a non-fiction account of the Mykonos restaurant assassinations of Iranian opposition leaders in Berlin.

Hakakian was a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,[2] and serves on the board of Refugees International.[3] Harry Kreisler's Political Awakenings: Conversations with History highlighted Hakakian among "20 of the most important activists, academics, and journalists of our generation".[4]


  • Early life 1
  • Works 2
    • Non-fiction books 2.1
    • Poetry 2.2
    • Film and television 2.3
    • Essays 2.4
  • Bibliography 3
  • Interviews and Speeches 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Born and raised in a Persian Jewish family in Tehran, Hakakian lived through the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and actively supported it along with other liberals. As the Iran-Iraq war raged and restrictive laws became more common, she emigrated unwillingly to the United States in May 1985 on political asylum. Settling in the New York area, she studied psychology at Brooklyn College[5] and went on to earn a Master of Social Work at Hunter College.


Non-fiction books

Her memoir of growing up a Persian Jewish teenager in revolutionary Iran, Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran (Crown) was a Barnes & Noble’s Pick of the Week, Ms. magazine Must Read of the Summer, Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and Elle magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of 2004.[6] It also won the Persian Heritage Foundation's 2006 Latifeh Yarshater Book Award and is the 2005 winner of the Best Memoir by the Connecticut Center for the Book. Journey from the Land of No has been translated into several languages and is available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain. She is also a recipient of the 2008 Guggenheim fellowship in nonfiction.

Hakakian's latest book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace – released on September 6, 2011, through Grove/Atlantic – is a non-fiction account of the Mykonos restaurant assassinations on September 17, 1992, in Berlin. In this attack, four Kurdish and Iranian activists were killed following a pattern of assassinations of opposition leaders (see: Chain murders of Iran). Hakakian's book explores the assassinations and the implications of Iran, their fallout, and the subsequent court case known as the Mykonos trial that became one of the most high-profile cases in Europe that ended implicating the highest level of Iranian government. It was a New York Times Book Review editors choice.


Hakakian is the author of two collections of poetry in Persian, the first of which, For the Sake of Water, was nominated as poetry book of the year by Iran News in 1993. She was listed among the leading new voices in Persian poetry in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies around the world, including La Regle Du Jeu, Strange Times My Dear: The Pen Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature,[7] and the forthcoming W.W. Norton’s Contemporary Voices of the Eastern World: An Anthology of Poems. She contributes to the Persian Literary Review, and served as the poetry editor of Par Magazine for six years.[8]

Film and television

Hakakian has collaborated on over a dozen hours of programming for leading journalism units on network television, including 60 Minutes and on A&E's Travels With Harry, and ABC Documentary Specials with Peter Jennings, Discovery and The Learning Channel. Commissioned by UNICEF, Hakakian's film, Armed and Innocent,[9] on the subject of the involvement of underage children in wars around the world, was a nominee for best short documentary at several festivals around the world.


Her opinion columns, essays, and book reviews appear in English language publications, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the "Huffington Post" and the Wall Street Journal among them. She is also a contributor to the Weekend Edition of NPR’s All Things Considered. Her articles have also recently gained international attention, having been translated to German in Die Zeit.


  • Journey from the Land of No: A girlhood caught in revolutionary Iran
  • Assassins of the Turquoise Palace
  • Persian: بخاطر آب‎‎ (For the Sake of Water)
  • Persian: نامی سزاوار نیایش‎‎ (A Name to Worship)

Interviews and Speeches

  • Interview with Charlie Rose on October 12, 2011
  • Yale University’s Saybrook College Master's Tea on October 22, 2009
  • Salisbury College's Fall Convocation Address and Book Signing on August 28, 2009
  • A Jewish Teen in Post-Revolutionary Iran on NPR's Fresh Air on July 9, 2009
  • CBS with Bob Schieffer on Washington Unplugged on July 6, 2009
  • An Iranian-American Perspective on NPR's Fresh Air on July 2, 2009
  • ABC Nightline interview with Terry Moran on July 1, 2009
  • WNYC Leonard Lopate Show on July 1, 2009
  • The Iranian Regime is Coming Undone on wowOwow with Lesley Stahl on June 26, 2009
  • Young, Jewish and Iranian: Witness to a Revolution at University of Tennessee on April 15, 2009
  • Conversations with History on University of California, Berkeley’s Global News and Opinion May 4, 2009
  • Aftermath: Journalism, Storytelling and the Impact of Violence and Tragedy with Harvard University's Nieman Foundation on February 27 and 29, 2009

See also


  1. ^ "Roya Hakakian 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship page". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  2. ^ "New York Times article on the founding of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center". The New York Times. January 9, 2005. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  3. ^ "Board of Directors for Refugees International".  
  4. ^ Kreisler, Harry (2010). Political Awakenings: Conversations with History. New York: New Press.  
  5. ^ "Invitation to see alum Roya Hakakian speak to CUNY students". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  6. ^ "Mention of Elle Award in Farsi". Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  7. ^ "Multicultural and World Literature Anthologies, comp. Alok Yadav". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  8. ^ "List of editors for Par Magazine". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  9. ^ "Documentaries Armed & Innocent".  

External links

  • Roya Hakakian's Website
  • Roya Hakakian's Facebook Page
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