Iraj Pezeshkzad, author of classic Iranian novel, dies aged 94

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But Prof Abbas Milani, a historian and director of Iranian studies at Stanford University, said the book overshadows Mr Pezeshkzad’s more serious writing, including his scholarly research on the literature of Persian poets Hafez and Saadi. Mr. Pezeshkzad, he said, wished his literary and non-fiction books would receive equal attention. It never did.

When Stanford University presented Mr. Pezeshkzad with its Bita Prize for Persian Art in 2014, about 1,200 people attended the ceremony, the most of any Iran-related event at the school.

Iraj Pezeshkzad was born on January 29, 1927 in Tehran to Hassan Pezeshkzad, a doctor, and Gohar Fekri Ershad, an aristocrat from the Qajar Dynasty.

Mr. Pezeshkzad had one sister and three half brothers and lived in a complex surrounded by a 30,000 square meter green garden since he was 9 years old. Part of his extended family also lived in the complex.

As a child he was a keen observer of his surroundings and those who populated them, later drawing inspiration from them as a writer. For example, in an essay about his childhood, he recalled the delusional uncle who courted children and begged them for respect by kissing his hands.

After graduating from high school in Iran, Mr. Pezeshkzad obtained a law degree from the Université de Dijon (now the University of Burgundy) in France. He soon began writing satirical short stories for Iranian publications and translating into Persian books by French writers such as Voltaire and Molière. When he returned to Iran, he married Mahin Chaybani. She died in 1979.

In Iran he was a judge for five years and then worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he served as head of the culture department until he was dismissed after the revolution. All the while he wrote a popular satirical column for a literary magazine and published plays, articles, research and books.

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