The charismatic Judy Miner, President of Foothill was moderator and did an excellent job keeping the questions coming fast and furious. She jolly well had to because although Firoozeh is as funny as hell, she’s also pretty succinct with her answers, which had me a little anxious toward the end of the interview that Judy would actually run out of questions.
They quipped about how they both often get mistaken for one another since they share the same dark eyes, enthusiasm for life: and hang out at the same Writer’s Conferences! Firoozeh recounted a number of stories from her life that had the audience in hoots of laughter. My favorite one was how, as a newcomer to America (age 7), the boys in her class plagued her until she told them what she described as the WORST swear word she could think of, and begged them never to use it. Needless to say, within minutes they were blasting round the school screaming it at the top of their lungs. But what they were actually shouting was: I’m an idiot, I’m an idiot! Classy gal.
But beyond the hilarity, Firoozeh shared her deeper message: to concentrate on our common humanity, to change perceptions of Iranians, and counter the attitude that EVERYTHING in the Middle East is to do with war and hatred. Her book is now widely used in schools and she hopes that will help change the view of Iran for the Post 9/11 generation.
Her advice to parents to encourage reading: give them the gift of boredom – no TV. Smart mom. Unfortunately we’re a bit too late for that in this house. But thankfully JK Rowling has saved the day!
I ushered Firoozeh into a dark annexe at the back of the stage for a quick interview for my Women’s Radio show before the event started. She was very trusting and forthcoming!
We discussed how being in Silicon Valley influenced her writing and “go for it” attitude. She also shared with me that Alexander McCall Smith was staying with her this week. Hey! Now why didn’t she invite me over? I speak the same language after all. Och aye.
Took her book to bed and kept hubby awake with my guffaws of laughter. She really is hilarious you know!