Essential Pittsburgh
6:17 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Exiled Writer Moniru Ravanipur Shares Insight on Free Speech in Iran

Exiled Iranian Writer, Moniru Ravanipur, is in Pittsburgh for a joint residency at City of Asylum and The Ellis School.
Exiled Iranian Writer, Moniru Ravanipur, is in Pittsburgh for a joint residency at City of Asylum and The Ellis School.
Credit Nick Frost / 90.5 WESA

As a young writer, Moniru Ravanipur, hoped that her writing would keep her alive. But more often than not it caused conflict with the Islamic government of Iran, where she grew up.

After waiting nearly seven years to get permission to publish her work, then ten years for her first novel, Ravanipur’s work was quickly banned.

“I didn’t write before the revolution. I wrote a short collection story that immediately they burnt and banned...That was not the only story that they banned.”

Ravanipur has seen many of her books banned by Iran and said the lack of free speech reflects the political oppression she felt as a student.

“It was a known feel, I was a student, nobody arrested you, nobody told you anything but you always feel that there is, kind of, anxiety, that maybe somebody would come and suddenly arrest you, it was the imagination of fear it was a kind of phobia or something the environment was not healthy.”

Her work eventually led to her exile. She's campaigned against the stoning of women and has spoken openly at international conferences about the reform movement in her home country.

Ravanipur is in Pittsburgh for a joint residency at City of Asylum and The Ellis School.