- Farhad HassanzadehAuthor–Iran
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Farhad Hassanzadeh is an Iranian writer who has influenced children's and young adult literature in Iran for more than twenty-five years. Through his novels, stories, rewritings of old tales, poems, biographies, and journalistic essays, he has been able to encourage a broad spectrum of audiences in various age groups to read literary works. Hassanzadeh was born in 1962 in Abadan, a town in southwestern Iran by the Arvand River near the Iran-Iraq border. With the advent of the eight-year Iraq-Iran war (1980–1988), Abadan became a war zone, and many of its citizens had to abandon the town and migrate. After leaving Abadan and going through all sorts of jobs Hassanzadeh was finally able to engage in his favorite career, namely creative writing. By climbing the literary ladder, he has become one of the most distinguished writers of contemporary Iran.
Diverse life experiences have enabled Hassanzadeh to create a broad spectrum of characters, circumstances, and locations and write for various age groups. In his fiction, he has written about the effects of war on civilians, migration and vagrancy, teenage love, shanty-town dwellers and children in shanty towns, teenagers' special world (particularly that of the teenage girls), comedy and wit, social taboos, and different geographical regions and areas. These topics demonstrate that although Hassanzadeh writes primarily for Iranian readers, he is a writer with an all-inclusive, universal message. The great number of his books; the warm reception of his works; the numerous awards his works have won; all the reviews, academic articles, and many dissertations written about his works; and also the translation of some of his works to other languages—these are all evidence that he has been successful in conveying his universal message.
Hassanzadeh tells the story of those whose land has been invaded, who have had to migrate due to war, who have lost their homes and jobs, and who have been dislodged from their human-relations network. However, he has remarkably tried to distance himself from the propagandist, official war literature as much as possible and see the issue from a humanist perspective. His standpoint should actually be understood as pacifist and anti-war, praising peace by portraying the destructive effects of war.
Hassanzadeh's taboo-breaking acts in his young adult novels are not limited to raising the issue of war. He has also addressed other sensitive issues that are not easy to discuss; for example, in some of his works, he has taken up the topic of marginalized and fringe characters or, more importantly, sexual abuse and rape (especially of boys)—a topic that has had little representation in Persian novels. Hassanzadeh embraces fresh topics, especially in his young adult novels, and his form and expressive style are both creative and interesting. Over more than twenty-five years, Farhad Hassanzadeh has succeeded in creating over eighty works and winning more than thirty national awards. His stories have been and are still being adapted into films and animations. [End Page 23]