On Sunday, I attended the reading by Iranian American writer Parochista Khakpour, supported by the US Consulate Leipzig.
Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
At the Leipzig Book Fair, Parochista Khakpour read excerpts from her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove, 2007), which is set in suburban California of the late 1980s and deals with questions of identity among Iranian immigrants to the US and their children. The negotiation and struggles of identity, both Iranian and American, is a key theme of the novel, and Khakpour noted that the figure of her father is central to treating this issue in her work.
Khakpour also presented some excerpts from an autobiographical essay titled “Camel Ride, Los Angeles, 1986,” originally published in Guernica, an online “magazine of art and politics.” In the essay, she describes the traumatic experience of being taken to a camel ride in the Los Angeles Zoo by her father.
Parochista Khakpour also spent a semester in Germany in the Winter Term 2011/2012 as Picador professor at American Studies Leipzig and worked on various writing projects. Khakpour remarked that writing about identity in a foreign country gives an author a different perspective, that she liked Leipzig as a city very much, and made friends while there.
Currently she is working on her second novel and a number of essays.
The US Consulate Leipzig is present at the Leipzig Book Fair this year with a booth in hall 4, E301, and it supports a number of authors and performers from the US and dealing with US-related topics.
Among the featured artists are:
- American writer David Guterson (Seattle), Ed King.
- American writer Holly-Jane Rahlens (New York/Berlin), Everlasting.
- American writer Jaimy Gordon (Baltimore), Lord of Misrule.
- American writer Jeffery Deaver (Glen Ellyn, Illinois), Carte Blanche.
- American Indian singer/songwriter Mitch Walking Elk, There Will Be No Surrender.
- Iranian American writer Parochista Khakpour (Picador Guest Professor at the University of Leipzig 2011-2012).
- American poet Peter Gizzi (Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA)
- Tobias Endler (Heidelberg Center for American Studies), After 9/11: Leading Political Thinkers about the World, the U.S. and Themselves.
The full list can be found here (.pdf).
Please note that not all events take place at the fair ground. For details, see the pdf document.
I am certainly going to attend some readings between Thursday and Sunday. As I am particularly interested in US politics, I hope I can make it to the 9/11 reading.