Roya Hakakian

Roya Hakakian

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: General Nonfiction

Competition: US & Canada

Roya Hakakian has collaborated on over a dozen hours of programming for leading journalism units on network television, including 60 Minutes, A& E’s Travels with Harry, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, and ABC Documentary Specials with the late Peter Jennings.  Ms. Hakakian’s most recent film, Armed and Innocent, was commissioned by UNICEF and addresses the involvement of underage children in wars around the world.  It was a nominee for Best Short Documentary at several festivals worldwide.

Ms. 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, 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.

Her opinion columns, essays, and book reviews appear in numerous English-language publications, among them the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. She is also a contributor to the Weekend Edition of NPR’s All Things Considered.  Ms. Hakakian is a member of the editorial board of World Affairs: A Journal of Ideas and Debate.

Ms. Hakakian is a fellow at Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center. She is a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, and serves on the board of Refugees International. She speaks on the subject of the Middle East and human rights and has appeared on CSPAN-Book TV, CNN International, the CBS Early Show, and Now with Bill Moyers. Her memoir of growing up a Jewish teenager in post-revolutionary Iran, Journey from the Land of No : A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran (Crown, 2005), was a Barnes & Noble’s Pick of the Week, a Ms. Magazine Must Read of the Summer, Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, Elle Magazine’s Best Nonfiction Book of 2004, and was named Best Memoir by the Connecticut Center for the Book in 2005.   Ms. Hakakian was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study the assassins of the Turquoise Palace for a forthcoming book.

Born and raised in a Jewish family in Tehran, Ms. Hakakian has lived in the United States since May 1985, when she came here seeking political asylum. She makes her home in Connecticut.

As a teenager, Roya Hakakian moved with her family to the U.S. from Iran, seeking political asylum. In a number of posts available at her website she offers her unique insight into the current crisis in Iran.


Harvard’s Nieman Center for Journalism

Interview at UC Berkley

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