Farhad Babaei is a writer, editor, and graphic designer from Iran. He holds a degree in Graphic Design and began writing in the late 1990s, starting with short stories and then expanding to other genres.
Beginning his literary endeavours in his early 20s, Farhad Babaei started attending literary workshops where he read out his stories to others, leading him to pursue his writing career more seriously. The workshops were linked to the magazine ‘Karnameh’, which the regime in Iran banned in 2007.
Between 2005 and 2011, Babaei worked as editor and graphic designer at Bongah Publishing in Tehran. During that period, he published his first collection of short stories Her Lover Azrael (2006), focused on the lives of lower-middle class couples in the style of Magical Realism.
Subsequently, Farhad wrote numerous stories and novels, including Nowruz (2007), Tower (2009), Graffiti (2010), Jamming (2010), Demon Land (2011), The Condition of Bahram for Nahid (2011), and Disintegration (2014). As the books and stories explore various aspects of Iranian society, such as war, protest, sex, and religion, Babaei was censored and not allowed to publish any of his work in Iran until 2015. His social satire novel Mr Shapour Grayeli’s Family passed censorship and was published by Cheshmeh Publications in Tehran, selling out its first print run. Later, another one of Farhad’s short story collections Nima Quality (2017) did not pass censorship and was not published in Iran.
Despite the situation in his home country, several Babaei’s books including Jamming, Tower, Disintegration, and a second edition of his first book Her Lover Azrael were published in UK and Germany. A short story written by Babaei was also published in Australia, as part of the anthology The Third Script: Stories from Iran, Tasmania & the UK.
In 2023, one of his novels (Jamming) was translated into the German language and was published in Germany.
Aside from writing, Farhad Babaei created the short film Period in 2010, and he has written the scripts of short documentary films, Density of Emptiness, directed by Shirin Barghnavard. Some of Farhad’s work has been adapted for theatre, and he has also organised and led creative writing workshops for young people.
In 2018, Babaei was awarded the prestigious Jean Jacques Rousseau Fellowship by the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany.
Due to continuous censorship, interrogation, and harassment by the regime in Iran, Babaei was unable to obtain a license and publish any of his books. Following the publication of his work abroad, Farhad faced increased threats and persecution, and was blacklisted from publishing in Iran.
In October 2023, Farhad Babaei arrived in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, and took up the city’s first ICORN residency. You can read more about Farhad’s reception in Bratislava here.
As an ICORN resident, Babaei has already engaged in a number of public events in Bratislava and has continued writing. He plans on publishing his works in Slovakia, collaborating with a composer in writing an opera, as well as holding literary workshops for children and young people.
For more information on Farhad Babaei and his work, please visit his website.