Simin & Jalal House Museum in Northern Tehran
Simin and Jalal House Museum
Many consider Simin Daneshvar, a contemporary Iranian novelist and fiction writer, to be one of the essential pieces in the puzzle of modern Persian literature. In fact, those who are enthusiastic about modern Persian literature cannot quench their thirst without, a taste Daneshvar shares with the readers in most of his works primarily in her 1966 novel ‘Suvashun’ or ‘Mourners of Siyavash’, also known as ‘A Persian Requiem’.
In 2018, some 97 years after her birthday in Shiraz in 1921, the house in northern Tehran that used to be occupied by Simin and her husband, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, another prominent novelist and short story writer, was refurbished and reopened to those who are interested in coming and taking on the scent and color of the former occupants.
Simin went to a British school in her hometown, Shiraz, to complete her primary and secondary education. In the fall of 1938, a brilliant student came to Tehran to study Persian literature at Tehran University.
In 1948, when she was 27, she published her first book Atash-e Khamoosh (Quenched Fire) a collection of short stories originally written by her when she was just 22 years old.
Simin married Al-e Ahmad in 1950, and it is highly believed that her marriage with the well-known realist writer was a turning point in her life as Al-e Ahmad had a significant influence on her life and Simin’s career as a writer.
In 1952 the Ph.D. graduate of Persian Literature traveled to the United States as a Fulbright Fellow working on creative writing at Stanford University with Wallace Stegner; American novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, and historian, often called ‘The Dean of Western Writers’. While there, she wrote in English and published two short stories. When she returned to Iran, she joined the University of Tehran.
Simin Daneshvar was the first Iranian female professional writer. Her writings are the embodiment of folklore and patterns borrowed from her mother tongue interwoven eloquently.
Her novel Suvashun, a best-seller, published shortly before Al-e Ahmad’s death in 1969, has been translated into 17 languages.
Simin used to sign her early works with a pen name: ‘Nameless Shirazi’, which means the ‘anonymous writer from Shiraz’.
Though maybe nameless and anonymous to many in her early days of activity, the Iranian female writer died at the height of her fame at the age of 90 in 2011 in Tehran.