Firoozeh Dumas was born in Abadan, Iran and moved to Whittier, California at the age of seven. After a two-year stay, she and her family moved back to Iran and lived in Ahvaz and Tehran. Two years later, they moved back to Whittier, then to Newport Beach. Firoozeh then attended UC Berkeley where she met and married a Frenchman.
Firoozeh grew up listening to her father, a former Fulbright Scholar, recount the many colorful stories of his life. In 2001, with no prior writing experience, Firoozeh decided to write her stories as a gift for her children. Random House published these stories in 2003. Funny in Farsi was on the SF Chronicle and LA Times bestseller lists and was a finalist for the PEN/USA award in 2004 and a finalist in 2005 for an Audie Award for best audio book. She lost to Bob Dylan. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor, the first Middle Eastern woman ever to receive this honor. Unfortunately, she lost that one to Jon Stewart. Even though, as Firoozeh’s dad likes to point out, Jon Stewart wrote his book with a team of writers, while Firoozeh wrote hers, alone, before her children woke up for school.
Critics and readers of all ages have loved her stories. Jimmy Carter called Funny in Farsi, “A humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love—of family, country and heritage.”
Orange County Reads One Book selected Funny in Farsi for Community Reads 2004, the City of Whittier in 2005, Cape Ann, MA in 2006, Palo Alto and Berkeley in 2006, and Dayton, Ohio and Bensensille, Illinois in 2008. Funny in Farsi is now on the California Recommended Reading List and is used in many junior high, high schools and universities. You may have also heard Firoozeh’s commentaries on NPR or read her pieces in the NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle Magazine, or Lifetime Magazine.
For the past four years, Firoozeh has traveled the country reminding us that our commonalities far outweigh our differences…and doing so with humor. She has spoken in conferences, schools, universities, churches, Jewish Temples and Islamic centers. Her travels have taken her from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Harvard University to UCLA. Everywhere she has gone, audiences have embraced her message of shared humanity and invited her back for more.
The Persian version of Funny in Farsi is currently one of the bestselling books in Iran. Firoozeh’s next book, Laughing Without an Accent, a series of autobiographical essays, will be published by Random House in May 2008. ABC is currently developing a sitcom based on Funny in Farsi.
My father's oral story telling. Listening to my mother and aunts talk constantly about the minutiae in their lives. The Whittier Public Library.
Laughing Without an Accent
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