SHAHRNUSH PARSIPUR was born in Tehran in February 17, 1946. She started her literary career when she was sixteen, writing short stories and articles. She graduated from the University of Tehran in Sociology. When she was twenty-eight, she wrote her first novel, Sag va Zememstaneh Boland (The Dog and the Long Winter – translated into Russian).
In the same year, while serving as the producer of the Rural Women, a socially inclined weekly program for the National Iranian TV, she resigned from working for that organization, in view of protesting against the meaninglessly cruel torture and execution of two journalist-poet activists by SAVAK. She was imprisoned for a few months, but later, she moved to France to study Chinese Philosophy and Language. There, she wrote her second novel, Majerahayeh Sadeh va Kuchake Ruheh Derakht (Plain and Small Adventures of the Spirit of the Tree) in 1977.
Due to the problems associated with the revolution in Iran in 1979, she could not complete her education in France, and had to return to Iran. As a result of a misunderstanding, she ended up in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political prison, for four years and seven months. As soon as she was released from jail, she published her novel Touba va Maanayeh Shab (Touba and the Meaning of Night) which has brought her a lot of fame amongst the book readers in Iran. This book has been translated into German and Italian, and its English translation has published.
As a result of openly referring to the issue of virginity in her novella Women without Men, she ended up in jail again on two different occasions. This book has been translated into English, Swedish, Spanish, Malayalam, Italian, Dutch and French.
In 1992, she was invited to go on a tour around the US, Canada, and several European countries. She spent two months in Iova and participated in Iova Writers Workshop Center. She returned to Iran, but because the publication of all of her books was banned, she came back to the US. Here she received the Hilman-Hammet award, in two occasions. She has received also the honorary tablet of Syrus the Great from encyclopedia Iranica.
She later published a book titled “Prison Memoir” recalling and discussing her memories of jail. Aqle Abi (The Blue Reason), which is a philosophical novel, is another book of hers. She wrote this book in 1989, but it was impossible to publish it in Iran. So She did it in the US and Sweden.
She has written other novels and short stories including Shiva, a science fiction novel [perhaps the first –and only- one of its kind in the Iranian literature]; Bar Baaleh Badd Neshestan (On the Wings of Wind), a novel; Adabeh Sarfeh Chai Dar Hozooreh Gorg (Tea Ceremony in Presence of a Wolf), and Avizeh-hayeh Bolour (Crystalline Pendants), Men From Various Civilization, each a collection of short stories.
One of her novella, Tadjrobe-hayeh Azad (Trial Offers), has been published in the Chicago Anthology of Iranian Stories. She has written a lot of articles and has contributed as a critic and essayist in Persian Book Review, and Negin magazines (Los Angeles) as well as Shahrvand journal (Toronto, Canada). She currently lives in the United States of America as a political refugee.
Since August 2003, she has received a fellowship of the Brown University for a year, and she lived in Providence, Rhode Island.
Shirin Neshat, the prominent photographer and film maker is working on her book, Women Without Men. Two parts of this film have made in Morocco. Because it was impossible to bring the actors and actress from Iran, Shahrnush played in the second part of the film.