Photo by Lizzie Himmel

Anahita Firouz

Anahita Firouz was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran. She attended an Iranian elementary school and an international high school in Tehran. Then she left for her university studies, first to Europe and then the United States, and after receiving her Masters degree returned to Iran to work for the National Iranian Television as a producer and interviewer. In 1978 she witnessed a turning point in the history of Iran- the Revolution- an upheaval that completely changed her country and the lives of everyone she knew. She was married in 1979, later left Iran for Europe, and in 1982 moved to the United States with her husband.

On her father's side, Anahita's grandfather was a prince from the Qajar dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1795 to 1923. He was a great grandson of the king, Nassereddin Shah, and a grandson of the king, Mozaffareddin Shah. Her father was minister for the Environment in Iran, and is the father of environmental protection and the founder of Environmental Studies in his country. Hussein Ala, her maternal grandfather, was ambassador in Washington during the 1946 Russian invasion of Iran's northwestern province of Azarbaijan. Serving also as Iran's United Nations envoy at the time, he gave the first speech ever of its kind at the UN defending the territorial integrity of a country.

Anahita has been invited to speak at universities, high schools, reading groups, clubs and various cultural institutions. People are fascinated by this other Iran of "In the Walled Gardens" that is humanized and rooted in its Persian culture, rather than those tired cliches of religious fanatics, black-veiled women and mullahs. She has taught a course at the University of Pittsburgh, which she designed, titled: "A Literary Journey from Morocco through the Middle East to Pakistan.

Anahita gives lectures on Writing, and on Iran, around the country.  Her preeminent interest is how the East and West intersect politically, socially, and culturally.  She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their two children.  She is working on her next book.