Azarin Sadegh

PEN Center USA 2011 Emerging Voices Fellow

Azarin Sadegh was born in Shahi, a small town near the Caspian Sea. Shortly after the revolution, and during the war with Iraq, she left Iran, studied Computer Science in France and found her old passion for writing in Los Angeles. Since 2007, her work has appeared in print and online, including in the Chicago Sun Times, and Common Boundary: Stories of Immigration. Currently, she is working on her second novel, The Suicide Note. [See her features in before 2008 and more recent]

Emerging Voices is a literary fellowship program that aims to provide new writers, who lack access, with the tools they will need to launch a professional writing career. Over the course of the year, each Emerging Voices fellow participates in: a professional mentorship; hosted Q & A evenings with prominent local authors; a series of Master classes focused on genre; and two public readings. The fellowship includes a $1,000 stipend.

The Mentorship Project grew out of PEN USA’s forum “Writing the Immigrant Experience,” held at the Los Angeles Central Library in March 1994, which explored the issues, problems and challenges faced by first and second generation immigrant writers. It was evident from the forum that many of the culturally diverse communities of writers in Southern California have special needs and are often isolated from the literary establishment. In the fall of 1995, PEN USA initiated Emerging Voices as a literary mentorship designed to launch potential professional writers from minority, immigrant and other underserved communities.



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Azarin Sadegh

Like in an epiphany..

by Azarin Sadegh on

To my dear cyber friends:

Ebi, Jahanshah, Yolanda, farshadjon, Souri, Ostad Saadat Noury, Nazy, Majid, Monda, Doctor Mohandes, Anahid, humanbeing, bavafa, MM, MPD, Masoud K., Ryszard, Darius K. Hadi, David, Orang, Maryam, Anonymous, Mona, All-Iranian, Ladan, Cost-of-Progress, Anonymous Observer, Maziar, Mehraban,  Ali P., Artificial Intelligence, Farah, Hajminator, Framarz, vildemose,   Divaneh, Mr. K., Sam and a few others who preferred to send me private emails…

When I finally descended on the planet Earth again, I went though all your comments and lovely words, this time with a lucid mind…and I was struck again by your kindness and genuine joy..and almost like an epiphany, I realized the similarity between a paragraph from my EV application - which is about my first novel-- and what I call my experience!

Now sharing this paragraph with you: 

"Through her trials, XYZ discovers that no matter how far she goes and no matter who she had been or who she will become, she may never escape the past. At the same time, she learns forgiveness, for her ex-lover (he turned Islamic), and for herself.... (she realizes) that there isn’t much difference between her and others (others= people born in Iran or not, with different backgrounds, different political views, different social levels, different religions, with or without god, etc.) That they are all the same, with the same longing and fears, all searching for poetry and for beauty. That they all love to live .... and they all share the same values as human beings."

Thank You!  


PS: Disclaimer: This is my opinion, and also a paragraph about a work of please take it as it is. Thanks!!

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Dear Azarin: congratulations

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Good for you ... and a thousand congratulations.

Azarin Sadegh

(sigh sigh) Then no chai..:-(

by Azarin Sadegh on

@Faramarz and Souri: I think you are right! So to be fair, I cancel my invitation to chai...since it is not fair to others! Any other suggestion, guys?

@Divaneh: I think you are MPD's serious competition! You are very funny! And please don't try to use your own techniques to get depressed. You are perfect the way you are: the most logical "divaneh" ever..:-)  


IRGC vs Non-violent resistance... Chiz.. opps I mean Sheereeni..

by Doctor mohandes on

I am sorry. I was so deeply into the debate on the othet tered:) Ghati kardam...

bale. Baleh. I see Tab eez az Noe Los angelesi. Keili keili bad. Man doos nadasht.


what or where kind of a kid are you? LOOL (shoma bache kojayeed?)

Souri jan:

Man delam bara shoma kheilui sookht. Alan ghyamat be pa mikonaaam.....ahaaay...


You go girl, You did it!!!

by Khar on

Azarin Khanoum Jaan, congratulation my friend! Wishing you ton more achievements in the future Aziz.

Keep on Writing.......



See Doctor jon?

by Souri on

There definitely is a preference for the L.A people! I knew it....


Ey, Ayohanaaaaas ma inja discriminated shodim, hicki ham delesh vaseh ma nasoukht!

Faramarz jon, are you going to L.A for the Shirini? Do it please, and I may come back to SF so keep some for me too.


دکتر مهندس


من مخلص بچه های آمل، بابل، شاهی، ساری و فریدونکنار هستم!



by Doctor mohandes on

I am good at sharing. No worries. There will be plenty for you to munch on.

BTW ... Are people from Other states Kinda sorta consider "as those who Live in L.A"... you know...?


Anahid Hojjati

Divaneh, Faramarz, and MPD, don't stop believing

by Anahid Hojjati on

Guys don't stop writing the funny stories. We sure need it. Didn't you see that Azarin credited the funny lines in her application?



by divaneh on

Well done dear Azarin, you deserved it. A good recognition of your skills and perseverance.

MPD Jaan,

I think you are better to stick to the funny stuff, but if you are inspired by Azarin's success and are now adamant to get sad and depressed, then here are some recommendations for you:

- Watch Indian films regularly.

- Listen to the latest music from LA bands.

- Put some coins in a vending machine in the subway and expect it to drop you a bar of chocolate.

- Visit IC regularly and read the comments by Q and the rest of the religious folk.

- Read the news out of Iran.

- Move to a house near a mosque.

Let me know if you need more advice.


مرسی سوری جان


مساله خیلی بغرنج شد!

من فکر کردم که با چند تا لیوان آب هویج و زرده تخم مرغ  و ویتامین منهم
مشهور میشم ولیکن مثل اینکه کار آسونی نیست و باید زحمت کشید!

در ضمن باید حواسمون به این دکتر مهندس هم باشه که همه شیرینیها رو نزنه به

منکه یک دیس زولبیا بامیه و پشمک و قطاب میخوام! شما ها هم یکجوری با
هم کنار بیان!    


Azarin jan: Congrats. It

by vildemose on

Azarin jan: Congrats. It must be such exciting times for you.

Though I was not born or raised in Shahi but my father's entire tribe is from Shahi...small world?

Azarin Sadegh

Let's do chai instead!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Well, Souri, azizam, considering the fact that the whole monetary prize is $1000, I think I need to borrow money from JJ to help me with the expenses of fedexing the shirinis...:-)

But I suggest to those of you in LA (or nearby) to get together and I'll invite you (as my shirini dadan) to tea or coffee somewhere in Westwood! If interested, please send me an email and if there are more than two serious people, then, I'll set up the logistics!


Beechare azarin

by Doctor mohandes on


alan too delesh be ma fosh mide:))

Azarin jan:

By the way, I am sorta your hamshahri. The family being from the nearby Babol:). Good to see ya here neigboriinooo:)


Doctor jon: movafegam ba shirini!

by Souri on

Especially that recently I've tasted the good Persian shirini from L.A. that dear Majid had brough for us!

We don't have so good shirini Irani here.

Then I suggest Azarin aziz send  1 kilo of Shirini Irani for every one in this blog! What you think? Isn't it fair enough?


Sahih asst.. Sahih asst

by Doctor mohandes on

HAr chi souri khanoom goftan hamooneh!!

p.S. I prefer noon Berenji and noon nokhodchi in case you felt like passing the sheereeni on down the line... azarin khanoom.


Her secret? (To Faramarz)

by Souri on

Haven't you read what she described as her key to success?

She said:

"Thanks to Jahanshah, since he always encouraged me (with his usual 4-5 words emails) !!!!"

Then you must write to JJ for getting encouragement of 4-5 words!!

But joke aside, other than her great writing skill, I believe the secret behind of Azarin's success lies behind her perseverance and discipline!

There's truely something about Azarin Sadegh!


حالا کی شیرینیشو میدین؟


صد آفرین به آذرین،
بیزحمت شیرینیش یادتون نره!
بعدش هم راز موفقیت تون را هم به ما نویسندگان گمنام و کم استعداد بگین.

Azarin Sadegh

OH MY...(blushing with humbleness)

by Azarin Sadegh on

My dear "fellows",

I really don't know what to say! Of course for me PEN USA's fellowship is a big deal, and that's why I am so excited! But I never expected to receive so much attention and to be treated so kindly by each one of you! 

Thank you!

I’m so grateful to be able to share my happiness with you….especially that many of you are among the writers I admire the most! I wish I could answer each of you individually without going overboard or making the rest of you rolling their eyes! 

But I think I should especially thank Jahanshah, since he always encouraged me (with his usual 4-5 words emails).. while I was full of self-doubts (for at least 1200 words)..:-))

Thank you, Jahanshah! You’re the best! And please don't change!

@dear MPD: You kill me! I am so jealous of your sense of humor! And between us, I think my application's strength was the few lines of humor I managed to slip into my novel excerpt (with such "cheerful" title)...and I should thank YOU for challenging me (for years) to write humor! 

@dear Ryszard: Your writing makes me feel so humble. Even though I am beyond happy, but I'll keep in  mind your advice! Yes, I totally agree with you that - no matter what -- writing is a lonely (inward) journey.

My many thanks again to every one of you!

Love, Azarin 



به به! صد آفرین بر شما!


دست شما درد نکنه که نام ایرانی را دراین زمان که خیلی بهش احتیاج داره باز از آخوندها جدا کردید و اینقدر بردیدش بالا!!

Anahid Hojjati

To MPD, regarding writing depressing stories, this is...

by Anahid Hojjati on


 Dear MPD, this is what I wrote as comment on one of Azarin's stories:

Stories in "Strange Pilgrims" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez are dark

by Anahid Hojjati on

I have to say that I am one of those that sometimes wishes Azarin would write an story that is not dark.  However, that is one style of writing and some great writers use this style too. Few months ago, I read many stories of the collection of short stories by Gabriel Marquez, collection titled "Strange Pilgrims" and I remember that I was surprised how drak they were.  Google it and you will find summary of some stories and you will see for yourself, how dark they are.  So Azarin's style has a place.  It is just some of us like to be entertained and equate being entertained with becoming happy.  I know I avoid many dark movies but I cannot say that they are not good movies.  So I suggest; to myself too, that in judging Azarin's work, we do not focus on the aspect of it being dark but the quality of the work. Then we have done our job as critics. 


Farah Rusta

Today PEN, tomorrow Pultizer!

by Farah Rusta on

Many congratulations Azarin  

With best wishes, 


Artificial Intelligence


by Artificial Intelligence on

Great Job!

Ali P.

Azarin jaan

by Ali P. on

You class up this joint :-)



(sheernee eh $1000 yaadet nareh)


Well done

by Mehrban on

Congratulations dear Azarin.

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

I'm glad to hear about your nomination first on pen usa & then ; wishing you the BEST.      

viva shahi.                Maziar

Anonymous Observer

Congratulations Azarin Jan

by Anonymous Observer on

you deserve it.


Congrats and

by Cost-of-Progress on

more power to All Iranian women - Everywhere. 




Ladan Farhangi

ZendehBaad Mazanderanihaa

by Ladan Farhangi on

Congratulations Azarin.


Good Job

by All-Iranians on

The credit goes to all Iranians. Congratulations Azarin.