Porochista Khakpour

I have a longing for what is real, even though I know that authentic expression is a dicey operation.

new york times editor's choice

national endowment for the arts fellowship

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Porochista Khakpour’s powerful memoir, Sick, reads like a mystery and a reckoning with a love song at its core. Humane, searching, and unapologetic, Sick is about the thin lines and vast distances between illness and wellness, healing and suffering, the body and the self. Khakpour takes us all the way in on her struggle toward health with an intelligence and intimacy that moved, informed, and astonished me.
— Cheryl Strayed
All of Khakpour’s strengths are on display here: punchy conversation, vivid detail, sharp humor. . .Khakpour brings her characters vividly to life; their flaws and feints at intimacy feel poignantly real, and their journeys generate real suspense. . .they are also imbued with a genuine humanity that wins our affection
The New York Times Book Review

Porochista Khakpour is the author of three critically acclaimed books, most recently Sick (HarperCollins, 2018), which Kirkus Review praised as “lucid, eloquent, and unflinchingly honest, Khakpour’s book is not just about a woman’s relationship to illness, but also a remarkably trenchant reflection on personal and human frailty. A courageously intimate memoir about living within a body that has “never felt at ease.”  Sick has been named one of the most anticipated books of 2018 by the Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Nylon, Electric Literature,, Huffington Post, Bitch, The Milions, The Rumpus, Autostraddle and others. She was called one of Dazed’s “Top American Writers You need to be Reading,” and Open Road Media’s “10 Amazing Female Novelists Under 50.”

Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove Press, 2008) was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of the Chicago Tribune’s Fall’s Best, and the 2007 California Book Award winner in the “First Fiction” category. Her second novel, The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014) was named a 2014 "Best Book of the Year" by NPR, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, Popmatters, Electric Literature and many more. 

Discussing her view of being a writer in America, Khakpour notes, “I think to really be an artist, to really inhabit that, you have to accept on some level that you are not going to belong. Being an outsider, for instance, can be like being an observer.” As a child, she was acutely aware of her “resident alien” status. “I remember trying to learn English on kindergarten playgrounds. I tried hard to be a convincing American but it was a losing battle. I was labeled weird and that tag never left me—all through high school, I was always the oddball. It was not always an easy path—I just had to tell myself that one day, being on the periphery would become an asset (and I think it finally has, as a creative adult).”

Among her many fellowships is a National Endowment for the Arts award. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Elle, Slate, Salon, and Bookforum, among many others. Currently, she is guest faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and Stonecoast's MFA programs, as well as Contributing Editor at The Evergreen Review. She has presented at book festivals here and overseas, and served as a judge for various literary awards.

 Born in Tehran and raised in the Los Angeles area, she lives in New York City’s Harlem.



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