Creative Writing Institute Welcomes Novelist Nahid Rachlin

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Left to right: Professor Geoghegan, Nahid Rachlin and Professor Carlos Dews

Left to right: Professor Geoghegan, Nahid Rachlin and Professor Carlos Dews

On Wednesday April 4th, John Cabot University had the pleasure of welcoming novelist Nahid Rachlin in the Aula Magna Regina, for an evening of readings from her acclaimed memoir Persian Girls.

After an introduction by Elizabeth Geoghegan, Assistant Professor of English, Ms. Rachlin began the evening with a brief overview of her life, in order to contextualize the reading excerpts that followed and provide a narrative for the passages chosen. The memoir recounts the author’s life, beginning from her childhood in Iran, during Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi’s rule, which lasted until the 1979 revolution.

In one of the most poignant passages, Ms. Rachlin read about the moment in which her life changed drastically, when she was taken from custody of her aunt (who had informally adopted her), and brought back to life with her birth mother and controlling father.

The book traces a parallel between the author’s life and that of her sister. Both had aspirations that clashed with the conservative environments around them, Ms. Rachlin of becoming a writer, her sister of making it as an actress. However, their paths diverged when the author’s sister became part of a difficult marriage, while Ms. Rachlin was able to leave Iran to study at an American college.

An entertaining question and answer session followed the readings, in which the audience’s curiosity to fill in the gaps in the author’s story led to reveal more fascinating insight about Iranian society, gender roles, and the struggles of adapting to an American college as a foreign student from such a different culture, making for an interesting and thought-provoking evening.