Art And Culture

Attar’s ‘Conference of the Birds’ Back in Persian

All the birds of the world gather to hear the hoopoe bird speak in Peter Sis’ The Conference of the Birds.All the birds of the world gather to hear the hoopoe bird speak in Peter Sis’ The Conference of the Birds.

A 2011 beautifully illustrated adaptation of Attar’s ‘The Conference of the Birds’ by celebrated Czech illustrator and children’s book writer Peter Sis, 67, is now available in Persian.

It is his first book for adults and in the work “Sis breathes new life into this foundational Sufi poem, revealing its profound lessons,” says a review by Good Reads (

The original ‘Mantiq-al-Tayr’, is a beautiful and uplifting poem. The classic 12th century Sufi epic poem of 4,500 lines was composed by Iranian poet, theoretician and hagiographer Farid al-Din Attar of Nishapur who has an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry.

The book has been translated into Persian by scholar, librarian and translator Zohreh Ghaeni, 63, a researcher at the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature, based in Tehran. The institute has recently brought it out, ISNA reported.

Sis’s deeply felt adaptation tells the story of an epic flight of birds in search of the true king, Simorgh. Drawn from all species, the band of birds is led by a hoopoe. He promises that the voyage to the mountain of Kaf, where Simorgh lives, will be perilous and many birds resist, afraid of what they might encounter. Others perish during the passage through the seven valleys: quest, love, understanding, friendship, unity, amazement, and death.

Those that continue reach the mountain to learn that Simorgh the king is, in fact, each of them and all of them. In this lyrical and richly illustrated story of love, faith, and the meaning of it all, Peter Sis shows the pain, and beauty, of the human journey.

An award-winning author and illustrator, he offers a beautiful and uplifting adaptation of the Persian poem.


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