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Roya Hakakian

Agent: Rory Scarfe

ROYA HAKAKIAN enjoys composing highly engaging prose about subjects that are often inaccessible to western readers. Her memoir, Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran (Crown, 2005) details the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in her birth country in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. The book received much acclaim, including the Best of the Year by Publishers Weekly and Elle Magazine and was the Guardian’s Top Ten Books on Iran. Her second book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace (Grove/Atlantic, 2011), for which she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in non-fiction, which some have called a modern-day “In Cold Blood” was a 2011 NYT Book Review’s most Notable Books, and Kirkus Reviews Best Non-Fictions of the year.

Hakakian’s most recent book, A Beginner’s Guide to America for the Immigrant and the Curious (Knopf, 2021) has been called a “love letter” to America and its democracy. She’s also written numerous essays for leading journals including, New York Review of the Books, and the Atlantic, to name a few. She’s produced programming for leading journalism units on network television, including CBS 60 Minutes. A fellow at Yale University’s Davenport College, she serves on the editorial board of the American Purpose. She’s made countless appearances from offering testimonies at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee to high schools on native American reservations in Montana. 

Prior to writing prose in English, Roya poetry in Persian and is listed among the leading voices of contemporary Persian poetry in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Her poetry’s been published in many anthologies, including Strange Times My Dear: The Pen Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature.  

Born and raised in a family Jewish educators in Tehran, Roya arrived as a refugee to the US in her teens and is naturalized US citizen.