Writing in Exile: Mammad Aidani
Mammad Aidani left Iran soon after the 1979 February Revolution. He has never been able to return home and has been living in exile ever since.
Aidani is an acclaimed poet and playwright, as well as a distinguished academic. His research is concerned with Middle Eastern people, especially Iranians, who have experienced violence or torture and who have resettled in the West. ‘We all wait,’ he has written. ‘Yes, the oppressed men and women always fight and wait for that bright future on the horizon.’
In conversation with Sami Shah, Aidani discusses censorship, creativity and isolation. How does Australian life affect Aidani’s perspective of Iran? And how has early estrangement from his home affected his character, career and world view?
Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.
Mammad Aidani is a human rights advocate, acclaimed poet, playwright, theatre director, and distinguished psychosocial researcher investigating the violence, torture and trauma experienced by Iranians and Middle Eastern immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers who have resettled in Australia and the West.
Mammad has been part of the international art project, Heartbreak, at this years’ Venice Biennale, and his play In The Mirror will be restaged at La Mama theatre in 2020. He is currently working on a theatre project with a group of Iranian asylum seekers and refugees called Forough and Us, in which they reflect on the fearless personality and the unique and challenging poetry of the most significant Iranian female poet Forough Farrokhzad (1934–1967). He has not been able to return to Iran over the last 40 years. Mammad’s writings have been banned and are not published in Iran.
Sami Shah is a multi-award winning writer, comedian, and broadcaster. He’s been profiled in the New York Times, ABC’s Australian Story, BBC Radio 4, NPR, and appeared on QI with Stephen Fry and The Project.
Sami has been performing award-winning and highly acclaimed comedy for over a decade, and used his acerbic wit to address world affairs and social issues, in comedy clubs and even international platforms like TEDx.