Farzaneh Milani

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Farzaneh Milani
Farzaneh Milani.png
Bornc. 1947

Farzaneh Milani (Persian: فرزانه میلانی‎ born c. 1947) is an Iranian-American scholar and author. Milani teaches Persian literature and Women’s Studies at the University of Virginia. Milani is Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures. She is also a poet, award-winning translator, and a recipient of the Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Milani’s 1992 book Veils and Words: the Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers (Syracuse, 1992), has seen its sixteenth printing.


Milani was born in Tehran in about 1947, she was the only daughter in a family of five children. Milani had an international education, attending Catholic co-educational French schools before relocating to the United States. She, her husband, and her unborn son arrived in America in December 1967.[1] There, she attended the California State University at Hayward, graduating with a BA in French Literature in 1970, and the University of California in Los Angeles, obtaining a PhD in Comparative Literature in 1979.[2] In 1986, after a four year stint at her alma mater as an instructor of Persian Language and Literature, she took a position at the University of Virginia.

At the University of Virginia, she has been the recipient of several awards, including the All University Teaching Award in 1998, a nomination for Virginia Faculty of the Year in 1999, and a University Seminar’s Teaching Award in 2001. She received a Storr’s Fellowship in 2001, a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 2002-2003, and was a Carnegie Fellow from 2006-2007. Her translation (with Kaveh Safa) of A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Behbahani won the Lois Roth Literary Award in Translation.[2]

Milani is the author of over 100 articles, op-eds, prologues, epilogues, forewords and afterwords in both Persian and English. She has guest edited two issues of Nimeye-Digar, a Persian-language feminist journal, IranNameh, and Iranian Studies: A Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, Readers Digest, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and N.P.R.’s All Things Considered. She has presented more than 150 lectures in the United States and around the world.

From 1994 to 1996, Milani served as President of the Association of Middle Eastern Women Studies in America. In addition, she has served as Executive Officer of the American Association of Persian Teachers (1990-1993), on the Board of Executive Directors of Middle East Studies Association of North America (1991-1994), on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Quarterly Review (2002-2005), on the Advisory Editorial Board for The Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures (Brill Academic Publishers), and on Governor Warner’s Council on the Status of Women in Virginia (2002-2005).

Her husband died in 2007.[1] She published Words, not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement in 2011.[3] In 2012 Milani was voted "Woman of the Year" by the Iranian Women Studies Foundation.[1]


  • 1992: Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers[4]
  • 1999: A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Behbahani (translation, with Kaveh Safa)
  • 2011: Words not Swords: Iranian Women and the Freedom of Movement[3]
  • Selected poems published in "Nimeye Digar", "Par", "Barrayand", "Daneshju", "Omid", and "Avaye Portland"[5]
  • 2016: Forugh Farrokhzad: A Literary Biography With Unpublished Letters , Persian Circle ISBN 978-0991896417