Acclaimed Iranian-American author and humorist, Firoozeh Dumas will be speaking at PAAIA’s signature event, “Passing of the Torch of Success” at the University of California San Diego’s Mandeville Auditorium on January 29, 2012. A best-selling author, Dumas is the only Middle Eastern writer who has received the honor of being a finalist for the prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor.
Dumas was born in Abadan, Iran and moved to Whittier, California when she was seven. After a two-year stay, she and her family moved back to Iran. Two years later they moved back to Whittier and eventually made Newport Beach their residence. She attended University of California Berkeley, where she met her French husband.
Dumas grew up listening to her father, a former Fulbright Scholar, recount the many colorful stories of his life. Inspired by his storytelling and without any prior writing experience, she wrote her own stories, as a gift to her children which eventually evolved into her first book, Funny in Farsi, a national bestseller. Former President Jimmy Carter described Dumas’ debut novel as “A humorous and introspective chronicle of a life filled with love-of family, country and heritage.” ABC turned her book into a sit-com starring Maz Jobrani but unfortunately, the series was not picked up for the season. Her second book, Laughing without an Accent, continues with more stories about her adult life and Firoozeh is currently writing a tween novel, without any vampires, for Random House. You may have heard Firoozeh on National Public Radio or read one of her pieces in the NYTimes, LATimes, Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping or numerous other magazines.
For eight years, Firoozeh has been traveling the world on the lecture circuit, speaking at conferences, colleges, churches, and schools. Her message is simple: our commonalities far outweigh our differences. In her speech, entitled, “You Are Iranian-American, OWN It,” Firoozeh Dumas hopes to inspire our youth to embrace their Iranian heritage, even though we are really, really unpopular in most places.