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  • Farhad Hassanzadeh, the Versatile Artisan of Life Stories
  • Farideh Pourgiv (bio)

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Farhad Hassanzadeh (born in Abadan, Iran, on April 9, 1962) is a distinguished and prolific Iranian writer who has been writing since he was a teenager. According to his own web page, Hassanzadeh has written more than eighty books of short stories, novels, and poetry for children and young adults. He writes film scripts and dabbles in animation as well. He is one of the founding members of the Iranian Association of Writers for Children and Youth and was an editorial board member of a children and young adult journal, Docharkhe (Bicycle) for fifteen years. Hassanzadeh has received over forty awards for his books. He was also a candidate for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2017 and 2018. Some of his books have been translated into other languages.

Diversity in Hassanzadeh's works makes the job of the critic interesting as well as difficult. He has written, as Mohsen Hejri points out, realistic as well as humorous stories, fantasy, and poetry (163); he has also done some rewriting of ancient Iranian tales. Some of this diversity may be due to his life. Hassanzadeh was born before the revolution in Oil-rich Abadan, and his family had to move out due to the [End Page 16] eight year Iran-Iraq war. He writes of his experiences in his English biography:

My first writing was a play in the performance of which I myself acted. Little by little I got interested in writing stories and poems. I felt I could speak out this way. But the outburst of the war between Iran and Iraq changed everything all of a sudden. I witnessed war's destroying strokes for one whole month. I lost many friends, too. My family and I had to leave our hometown. The eight-year war changed my life entirely. (Hassanzadeh, "Biography")

He continues to say that he did many odds and ends jobs to help the family, and some of these experiences are shown in the various settings and characters of his stories. However, his creative mind is not limited to his own life experiences as he addresses a wide range of challenging ideas, characters, settings, and themes—such as migration, homelessness, loss of parents due to war, and social taboos that Iranian children and young adults are experiencing nowadays.

Hassanzadeh has attracted a lot of attention among critics as well as academics in Iran; many theses and dissertations have been written on his works, not only in the departments of Persian language and literature but also in the social sciences and education. Faramarz Khojasteh and Atefe Nikkhoo discuss Hassanzadeh's use of postmodern narrative techniques in his stories; they praise his use of multiple narrators, meta-story, and multiple endings (79). Ali Safaee and Hossein Adhami comment upon Hassanzadeh's use of satire in his stories in two different papers. Maryam Khodabin, Zohre Mirhosseini, and Zahra Abazari also analyze satire in Hassanzadeh's fiction and state that he makes use of several techniques such as verbal satire, situational irony, language games, parody, exaggeration, pun, and jokes; they believe that the most prominent techniques in his work are verbal satire and situational irony (70).

Fox and Bee Adventure (Mājerāhā-i Rubāh va Zanbur) is Hassanzadeh's first book, published in 1991. It is written in verse, and he was the illustrator of the book as well. The little bee wants to see the world, but the fox is so hungry that he intends to eat the bee and pays the price.

Snake and Stairs (Mār va Peleh), published in 1994, is a collection of five short stories titled "One Night of the Thousand Nights," "Snake and Stairs," "Silent Flute," "Under the Idle Tree," and "Grey Moments." Maryam Vaezi classifies this book as a realistic portrayal of poverty (214), while Mohsen Hejri considers some of the stories as scathing political criticism (167).

In 1998, Hassanzadeh published a book titled Amir Kabir Is Not Just the Name of a Street (Amir Kabir faghat Esm-i yek Khiābān Nist). Amir Kabir was the chief minister of the...