I grew up in a home with no television. My father called it the idiocy box and refused to allow one in the house. He wanted us to read instead. When I was too young to read, my entertainment was the Persian folk tales Naneh Kobi used to tell me. In reality, my nanny was as engaging as her folk tales. She was funny and eccentric, and always dressed in her tribal Qashqai clothes—colorful embroidered shirts and long multi-layered skirts hemmed with ribbons. Now and then she would drift off in the middle of a story and I, nestled on her lap, would tug at her sequined headscarf pinned under her chin to bring her back. When I was a little older, Naneh Kobi went back to her tribe and amazing pop-up and picture books replaced her stories. Other books for other ages followed. Decades have since passed and my love of stories and books continues. I always think of my father, and I often wish I had a photograph of Naneh Kobi. —Sara Khalili
Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Moon Brow and Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, Kissing the Sword by Shahrnush Parsipur, and Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali.
Books translated by Sara Khalili
- Read interviews with Sara Khalili in Michigan Quarterly Review and Asymptote.
- Read her other translations at Words Without Borders.