Born in Tehran, Marsha Mehran escaped the upheaval of the Iranian revolution with her family. She grew up in Argentina and the United States. She also lived in Australia and Ireland. Mehran's debut novel Pomegranate Soup was published in 2005 and subsequently became an international bestseller. It is the story of three sisters who escape Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and eventually settle in a small town in the west of Ireland.
Pomegranate Soup has been translated into fifteen languages to date, and has been published in over twenty countries worldwide.
Mehran's second novel, Rosewater and Soda Bread, published in 2008, is a continuation of Pomegranate Soup. It marks the second installment of a series that will be running for seven books, the next of which, Pistachio Rain, it was published n 2013.
A stand-alone novel, The Margaret Thatcher School of Beauty, is to be published in 2014. Set in Buenos Aires during the Falklands War, it tells the story of a group of displaced beings who gather once a week to recite poetry and tell tales of what has been.
Marsha Mehran was found dead in her flat (apartment) in Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland in May 2014. The cause of death is unclear but she appears to have died of natural causes. She was 36.
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Marsha Mehran talks about Pomegranate Soup
Pomegranate Soup is your first novel. What inspired you to write this
I was living in Ireland in 1999 with my then husband, who was Irish. "Multiculturalism" wasn't even in the vernacular; I was one of only a handful of 'foreigners' living in County Mayo. When I walked down the village main street, people literally came out of shop doors to stare at the "brown girl" passing by! At the pub, I was often asked if I was Japanese or Chinese (ethnic groups which I do not remotely resemble). During this time I met a Middle-Eastern family that ran a deli outside of Castlebar. They sold cans of chickpeas, tahini, and Mediterranean condiments, which are common in supermarkets today, but were a rarity back then. This Lebanese family reminded me of my own parents, who had escaped the Islamic Revolution in Iran and moved to Argentina, where they opened a Middle Eastern eatery. They carried that same haunted, lonely looks on their faces that my mother and father had, as they struggled to build a life in a country so vastly different from their homeland. The image of this family stayed in my mind, even as I moved back to New York...
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