Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area.
She has been awarded fellowships from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ucross Foundation, Djerassi, and Yaddo. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is most recently the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose).
Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 9/07)–a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune “Fall’s Best,” and 2007 California Book Award winner–is out in paperback. She has also penned the introduction to a new English edition of one of the greatest modern Iranian novels of all time, Sadegh Hedayat’s The Blind Owl (10/10).
Her second novel, The Last Illusion, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury (May 13, 2014). It was one of Flavorwire’s 15 “Most Anticipated Books of 2014″, The Millions “Most Anticipated” in their “The Great 2014 Book Preview“, and the Huffington Post’s “30 Books You NEED to Read in 2014.”
She was also invited to be the guest-editor and curator of Guernica‘s first Iranian-American issue, which came out in November 2011.
Her other writing (essays, features, reviews, cover stories, and columns) have appeared in or are forthcoming in Harper’s, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, Al Jazeera America, GQ, The Paris Review Daily, Granta.com, Spin, Slate, Salon, Poets and Writers, The Rumpus, Departures, Paper, Flaunt, Nylon, Bidoun, Alef, Canteen, nerve.com, FiveChapters.com, and many other magazines and newspapers around the world. As of 2008, she’s been a frequent contributor of personal essays to the New York Times.
She has given talks, lectures, and readings at festivals, universities, conventions, and conferences all over the country, from a keynote speech at the University of Cincinnati’s Rope Lecture Series to the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series. She has been on judging panels and committees for PEN, the Berlin Prize, Asian American Writers Workshop writing contests, the Rona Jaffe Foundation prizes, Canteen Magazine writing contests, and the Santa Fe Reporter’s 2010 annual writing contest.
She has taught creative writing and literature at Johns Hopkins University, Hofstra University, Bucknell University, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Fairfield University’s MFA program, the University of Leipzig (where she was a Picador Guest Professor), and the Gotham Writers Workshop. Additionally, she has been guest faculty at Cleveland State University’s Imagination Conference and the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference.
She lives in New York City. She currently teaches at Columbia University, Fordham University, and Wesleyan University (Visiting Writer).
Photo: Marion Ettlinger