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13th Bita Prize for Persian Arts: Homa Sarshar

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION: A free ticket is required but does not guarantee a seat. Seating is first come, first serve. Doors will open at 6:10 PM. Event will be in English and will include several speakers.

Homa Sarshar is a published author, award-winning journalist, writer, media personality, philanthropist, and a women’s rights activist. She is the author of five books and the editor of nine other volumes, including five volumes of the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation Journal and four volumes of The History of Contemporary Iranian Jews. Her book Sha’baan Jafari was the number one bestseller Persian book in Iran and abroad in 2003.

Her two-volume memoir In the Back Alleys of Exile (1993), covering her first decade in the US, was the first publication of an Iranian woman memoir after the revolution published outside Iran, as well as one of the very few examples of memoir-writing by an Iranian woman at the time of its publication. Her most recent book, A Narrative of Endurance (2022), is the second part of her memoir and covers the following three decades of her exile in the US.

From 1964 to 1978, she worked as a correspondent, reporter, and columnist for Zan-e Ruz weekly magazine and Kayhan daily newspaper in Iran. During this period, she also worked as a television producer, director, and talk show host for National Iranian Radio & Television. In 1978, Ms. Sarshar moved to Los Angeles where she resumed her career as a freelance journalist, radio and television producer, and on-air host.

In 1995, she founded the Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History (CIJOH) in Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that gathered over 1,600 historically significant photographs and documents, and recorded over 120 oral interviews with elders and leaders of the community. In 2006, she founded Honar Foundation to provide social and financial support to all Iranian American artists in need to ensure that these unique talents are served in the best way possible and their lives are improved.

Throughout her 59-year career with Iranian and Iranian-American print, radio, and television, Ms. Sarshar has recorded more than 3000 interviews and has produced and anchored as many radio and television programs. She has also written, directed, and produced a collection of twenty video documentaries on exiled Iranian writers, poets, and artists, some of which have been acquired by the Library of Congress for the library’s permanent audiovisual archive.

Ms. Sarshar generously donated her complete print, visual, and audio archive to Stanford University. The donation includes the entire recording collection of forty years of her radio and television program, copies of the invaluable Iranian Jewish Oral History Project, and her original newspaper and magazine articles, which are now housed at Stanford’s Green Library. She also established the Sarshar Diaspora Research Fund at Stanford Iranian Studies to support students interested in studying the Iranian diaspora.

If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at  Requests should be made by June 15, 2023.


The annual Bita Prize for Persian Arts is awarded by the Stanford Iranian Studies Program to an artist of Iranian ancestry whose work, in the course of their lifetime, has exhibited singular achievements in both the realm of aesthetics and in the essence of defending the rights of artists to create, free from any fetters. The recipient is invited to Stanford University to give a public lecture and receive the prize. Since its inception in 2008, the Bita Prize has been awarded to outstanding Iranian scholars, artists and creators.