Transnational Series Live: Sassan Tabatabai with Sunil Sharma

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Transnational Series Live: Sassan Tabatabai with Sunil Sharma

The Transnational Series hosts Sassan Tabatabai to discuss and celebrate his translation of Blind Owl by Sadeq Hedayat with Sunil Sharma.

By Brookline Booksmith

When and where

Date and time

Starts on Thursday, April 27 · 7pm EDT


Brookline Booksmith 279 Harvard Street Brookline, MA 02446

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About this event

  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with Sassan Tabatabai to discuss and celebrate the release of his translation of Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat. He will be in conversation with translator and scholar Sunil Sharma.

Written by one of the greatest Iranian writers of the twentieth century, Blind Owl tells a two-part story of an isolated narrator with a fragile relationship with time and reality. In first person, the narrator offers a string of hazy, dreamlike recollections fueled by opium and alcohol. He spends time painting the exact same scene on the covers of pen cases: an old man wearing a cape and turban sitting under a cypress tree, separated by a small stream from a beautiful woman in black who offers him a water lily. In a one-page transition, the reader finds the narrator covered in blood and waiting for the police to arrest him. In part two, readers glimpse the grim realities that unlock the mysteries of the first part.

In a new translation that reflects Hedayat’s conversational, confessional tone, Blind Owl joins the ranks of classics by Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky that explore the dark recesses of the human psyche.

Sadegh Hedayat was born in Tehran in 1903 and is considered one of the most important Iranian prose writers of the twentieth century. He is celebrated as the father of modernist Persian literature and is credited with bringing modern Persian literature onto the international scene. In 1936, he published his most famous work, Blind Owl, as a hand-written volume with original illustrations. Hedayat took his own life in Paris in 1951.

Sassan Tabatabai was born in Tehran in 1967 and has been living in the United States since 1980. He is a poet, a translator, and a scholar of Medieval Persian literature. He is Master Lecturer in World Languages and Literatures and the Core Curriculum, and Coordinator of the Persian Language Program at Boston University. Tabatabai is the author of Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and his Poetry, Uzunburun: Poems, Sufi Haiku, and translator of the novel Blind Owl by Sadeq Hedayat. His forthcoming books, both scheduled for release in spring 2023, are Ferry to Malta: Poems and Translations, and a Persian translation of the poetry of David Ferry.

Moderator Sunil Sharma teaches Persian and South Asian literature in the Department of World Languages & Literatures at Boston University. His areas of research are poetry and court cultures, history of the book, and travel writing. Apart from research articles and books, he has also published translations: In the Bazaar of Love includes his translations from the Persian and medieval Hindi poetry of the iconic poet Amir Khusraw; he has also translated travelogues written by Iranian and Indian women, which appear in the recently published anthology, Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women. He aspires to write historical fiction someday.

The Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith

The Transnational Series focuses on stories of migration, the intersection of politics & literature, and works in translation and is supported by the independent bookstore Brookline Booksmith. Subscribe to the Transnational Series newsletter for information on upcoming events, book recommendations, and more.

What You Need to Know to Attend

RSVP to let us know you're coming! RSVPs don't guarantee a seat, but you'll be alerted to important details about the program, including safety requirements, cancellations, and book signing updates.

Reserve a Book

  • Books will be available for purchase at the event, but you can ensure that you get a copy by preordering on this page. You can pick your book up after 6:30PM on the day of the event.
  • Can't make it to the event? Preorder the book here to have it signed, and choose to have it held or shipped from the store! Book orders are processed for pickup or shipping after ticket sales have closed.


Barring technical difficulty, this event will be livestreamed to our store YouTube channel.

Event Accesibility

This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be livestreamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!


Please note that any Brookline Booksmith in-person event may be canceled by the bookstore, publisher, or author based on concerns about health and safety around the time of the event. Wherever possible, any in-person appearance canceled due to COVID will be moved to the Brookline Booksmith Zoom as a Webinar at the same date and time, and all tickets & registrations will be transferred to the online event. Book signing details may change. Refunds may be requested in the case of a virtual pivot or event cancelation.

About the organizer

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