News Release: Arts and Humanities, People

Oct. 30,  2008

Emory Fellow Wins Whiting Writers' Award

Laleh  Khadivi, a fellow in Emory University's Creative Writing Program, has received a 2008 Whiting Writers' Award. The $50,000 award, which annually recognizes 10 young writers, was presented to Khadivi yesterday in New York City. (

Khadivi was honored for her first book, "The Age of Orphans," a historical novel set in Iran during  the first Shah's ascent to power. Born in Esfahan, Iran, Khadivi is of Kurdish and Persian heritage.

"The Age of Orphans" follows the life of a Kurdish boy whose family is killed by the armies of the Shah as part of a "modernizing effort." The boy is then adopted into those same armies and taught to kill his own people.

This first book is part of a trilogy that follows the lives of three generations of Kurdish men and will be published by Bloomsbury in March. "The award gives me more time to work on the trilogy," says Khadivi, adding that when her teaching stint at Emory ends, she is considering taking a year off to work on the next book.

Khadivi, who has lived in a variety of countries, is a graduate of Atlanta International School and now calls the United States home. Previously, she was a documentary filmmaker and directed "900 Women," a film about incarcerated women in Louisiana. She has produced a number of other films that focus on the criminal justice system.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Reed College and an MFA degree  from Mills College. Khadivi is currently the Fellow in Fiction at Emory, a two-year appointment for those holding a graduate degree in creative writing and who have a manuscript underway.


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