Shahrnush Parsipur was born in Tehran, Iran and received her BA in Sociology from the University of Tehran.
She wrote her first novel at the age of 28, Sag va Zememstaneh Boland (The Dog and the Long Winter) and later that year was imprisoned for several months for protesting the execution of two activists. She wrote her second novel in France, Majerahayeh Sadeh va Kuchake Ruheh Derakht (Plain and Small Adventures of the Spirit of the Tree) in 1977.
She has been imprisoned several times in Iran for her writings which often focus on themes of women, gender, and sexuality. After one period in prison, she published her first novel Touba va Maanayeh Shab (Touba and the Meaning of Night) in 1980. She also wrote a memoir recalling her time in prison (the English translation is titled Kissing the Sword). In 1990 she wrote Zanan-e bedun-e Mardan (Women Without Men), a collection of short stories.
Her other works include: Aqle Abi (The Blue Reason), Shiva, Bar Baaleh Baad Neshestan (On the Wings of Wind), Adabeh Sarfeh Chai Dar Hozooreh Gorg (Tea Ceremony in Presence of Wolf), Avizeh-hayeh Bolour (Crystalline Pendants), Men From Various Civilizations, and Asieh dar Miane Do Donya (Asieh between Two Worlds). Her books have been translated into several languages. She has also written more than 400 articles about modern Iranian literature in different literary publications. Her book Blue Logos has just been translated in English by M.R. Ghanoonparvar.
The prominent photographer and filmmaker, Shirin Neshat, created a full-length film based on Women Without Men and a short film project based on Touba and the Meaning of the Night.
She has received numerous awards and holds an honorary doctorate from Brown University. She will be in conversation with Dr. Abbas Milani about her recent book, her work, and women's wisdom, in the ongoing series on Iranian women.