AIAW’s Second Annual Nowruz Literary Event by Cindy Jordan

Happy Now Roz

Last month, on March 25th, I attended an event at Zora Space, on 4th
Avenue in Park Slope; a known spot for housing events for arts of all kind.
It was the AIAW’s (Association of Iranian-American Writers) Annual NYC
Nowruz Literary Event, hosted by Manijeh Nasrabadi (AIAW’s Co-director)
and Zohra Saed (Editor for UpSet Press), and was co-sponsored by UpSet
Press. The reading featured writers such as: Aisha Kashgari, Nadira Artyk,
Najila Naderi, Narges Bajoghli and Sara Goudarzi; a gathering of Afghan,
Iranian, Uygher and Uzbek writers, willing to share their art with anxious
ears. They offered an assortment of poetry and short fiction, one performer
(Kashgari) even reciting her piece (with assistance) in both english and her
native language. Beautiful.

The evening also included indelible interludes by musical guests, the
Farvardin Ensemble featuring: Ozan Aksoy on Zarb/Domback, Piruz Partow on the
Persian Tar and–of course Habib Partow playing the Santur, which acted as the perfect
accompaniment to such poignant vocals. Both of their performances throughout the
evening were incredibly moving. Being front-row for all of it was a bit overwhelming,
but thankfully so.

Fun fact: Nowruz, for those like myself who didn’t know, is the spring equinox of the
Iranian calender; actually marking the beginning of the Persian New Year and time of
celebration. Nowruz is also recognized cross-culturally, among those in parts of India,
China, the Balkans, etc. It coincides with holy days of many faiths including Purim, a
Jewish festival, that may have roots in Nowruz. So this reading was a way of
celebrating, gathering together for the common purpose of artistic expression; complete
with visual art displayed around the room. It really was a very cool time, not-to-mention

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