Art And Culture

First two Volumes of Persian Fantasy Horror Novel Published

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First two Volumes of Persian  Fantasy Horror Novel PublishedFirst two Volumes of Persian  Fantasy Horror Novel Published

The book signing ceremony for the first two volumes of the Persian fantasy horror novel ‘Parsua Plain’ written by Maryam Azizi and published by Ofoq Publishers was held at Ofoq bookstore in central Tehran on July 18 in the presence of the author, publisher, literary figures and book fans.

Fantasy and horror stories are widely popular not only among children and adolescents but also adults in the world. A look at the bestseller books and films in the past decades suggests that more and more people are attracted to such genres.

‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Chronicle of Narnia’, ‘His Dark Materials’, ‘Discworld’, ‘Shannara’, ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ among fantasy books and ‘Goosebumps’, ‘The Saga of Darren Shan’ and ‘Fear Street’ in the horror genre are all famous book series, most of which have been made into hit movies. Many of the titles have been translated into Persian and have found a large number of avid fans among Iranians.

Despite all the interest among children and young adults in Iran, there are few fantasy books written by local authors and no horror stories have been penned by Iranian writers, that is, until now with the publishing of ‘Parsua Plain’.

The book is the first series of novels in Persian on the mixed genre of fantasy and horror. Written in six volumes, the first two were presented at the Tehran International Book Fair in May and the other volumes will be released gradually by the next edition of the book fair.

In a talk with Financial Tribune, Azizi, 33, described how she was motivated to write her first book.

“In 2007, the fever of Harry Potter had reached a pitch across the globe including Iran, when the 7th and the last volume was released. It was then asked by Iranian book fans why nobody writes such fantasy series for young adults in Persian. The idea struck me and I developed it. At first the series was supposed to be completed in three volumes but later it was extended as I liked the characters I created and wanted to go on along with the story to see what happens,” she said.

Different races including sorcerers and magicians live in the world she has created where there is also an eternal clash of good and evil. The well-written characters, dark atmosphere of the stories and numerous battles make them terrifying and mysterious enough for the readers not to put the book down until the end.

Azizi has made use of Iranian myth and included creatures like Simorgh (legendary bird) in her work. But mostly the characters and beings are creations of her imagination without having an external equivalent. For example, the evil is represented by a creature half man and half bat. The names have also been partly taken from the words of Pahlavi language (used in the old Persia), but some have no origin and are coined by the author.

 Nature of Fantasy Writing

Attending the signing session, Marjan Kalhor, author and translator, and Mehdi Rajabi, author and critic, spoke about the book and discussed the nature of fantasy writing.

Rajabi pointed to the five years that the young author took to finish all the six volumes and said, “Writing for such a long period time needs great concentration,” but the result is appealing and “we have now a new fantasy world in Persian literature”. He also hoped that the series can open a new window for Iranian authors to write more stories in these genres.

Kalhor discussed the magical world depicted in the book and said, “It is full of magic but there are also moral and social messages hidden in the layers of the story which I find best about the book.”

Azizi who lives in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province, is a graduate of pure chemistry. Although her current vocation is completely different from her studies, she has made use of her education in the events of the story.

On supporting young talent, Ofoq Manager Reza Hasheminejad told this newspaper, “We support those who are meticulous about the quality”. As he said, Ofoq receives lots of stories all the time but they accept a few that have something new to say.

Ofoq has published many translations of fantasy books for children and young adults as they are trendy in the world but “there is a lack of writing original fantasy and especially horror works,” in the country, he said.

Founded in 1990, Ofoq publishes almost 85 new titles a year. It mainly works in the field of children and young adults, but also has published novels and political titles.

Ofoq is an active publication participating in many local and international book fairs. It was selected as the best publisher of the year 1996, 1998 & 2007, Winner of Honor Diploma at Tehran International Biennal of illustration, and the best partnership of 9th, 13th, 17th and 19th Tehran International Book Fair. Its books have won 65 awards in Iran and three international illustration awards.

The first volume of ‘Parsua Plain’ titled ‘Silence Vicinity’ in 472 pages and the second ‘Dawn Prophecy’ in 424 pages are available in the market.