Nayeri to read from her debut novel Feb. 26

Nayeri to read from her debut novel Feb. 26

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Dina Nayeri, an Iranian-born author who moved to the United States at age 10, will read from her debut novel, A Teaspoon of Earth and Salt, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in a free reading at Prairie Lights Books in downtown Iowa City. The reading also will be streamed live on the University of Iowa Writing University website.

dina nayeri standing near wall
Dina Nayeriwas a Truman Capote Fellow and is a Teaching Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Nayeri is at work on her second novel (also about an Iranian family) at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow and is a Teaching Writing Fellow.

In A Teaspoon of Earth and Salt, 11-year-old Saba Hafezi and her twin sister, Mahtab, grow up in a small rice-farming village in 1980s Iran, and they are captivated by America. They keep lists of English words and collect illegal Life magazines, television shows, and rock music. So when her mother and sister disappear, leaving Saba and her father alone in Iran, Saba is certain that they have moved to America without her. But her parents have taught her that “all fate is written in the blood,” and that twins will live the same life, even if separated by land and sea. As she grows up in the warmth and community of her local village, falls in and out of love, and struggles with the limited possibilities in post-revolutionary Iran, Saba envisions that there is another way for her story to go. Somewhere, it must be that her sister is living the Western version of this life. And where Saba’s story has all the grit and brutality of real life under the new Islamic regime, her sister’s life gives her a freedom and control that Saba can only dream of.

Nayeri’s work is published or scheduled for publication in more than 20 countries and has appeared in Granta New Voices, the Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Salon, Glamour, and elsewhere. She holds an MBA and a Master of Education, both from Harvard, and a B.A. from Princeton.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a graduate program in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this reading, call Jan Weissmiller at Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681. For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the new Arts Iowa website.


Christopher Clair, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0900


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