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Firoozeh Dumas at McMaster University 2012
June 26, 1965
Firoozeh Dumas (Persian: فیروزه دوما) (born 1965 in Abadan, Iran) is an Iranian-American writer who writes in English. She is the author of the memoirs Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America (2003) and Laughing without an Accent: Adventures of a Global Citizen (2008), and the semi-autobiographical novel It Ain't so Awful, Falafel (2016).
At the age of seven, Dumas and her family moved to Whittier, California. She later moved back to Iran and lived in Tehran and Ahvaz. However, she once again immigrated to the United States; first to Whittier, then to Newport Beach, California. She began to write and submit essays to obtain money to go toward college. She attended the University of California, Berkeley where she lived at International House Berkeley and majored in art history.
Kazem, her father, dominates many of her stories throughout her memoir Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. She takes pride in her Iranian heritage, but at the same time, mocks her dad's fascination with "freebies" at Costco and television shows like Bowling for Dollars. Growing up, Dumas struggled to mix with her American classmates, who knew nothing about Iran. She also retells firsthand experiences of prejudice and racism from being Iranian in America during the Iranian Revolution. However, throughout hardships, she emphasizes the significance of family strength and love in her life.
Since the publication of Funny in Farsi, her first book, she has been active on the lecture circuit, speaking at universities, conferences, high schools, middle schools, and other venues.
Her other work has been published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has also been a commentator for National Public Radio, and a panelist on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!.
In July 31, 2014, she asked her readers who lived in Iran to purchase the English versions of her books, as the Persian versions not translated by Mohammed Soleimani Nia are unauthorized.
Awards and honors
As a result of Funny in Farsi's success, Firoozeh Dumas has been nominated for many awards, including the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Not only was she the first Iranian author to be nominated, she was also the first author from Asia to hold such an honor. She lost to Jon Stewart. She was also nominated for an Audie for best audio-book, losing to Bob Dylan. She was nominated for a PEN/USA Award in Creative Nonfiction. She received the Spirit of America Award in 2008 from the National Council for the Social Studies. Former recipients of this award include Jimmy Carter, Rosa Parks, and Mr. Rogers.
- Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (2003)
- Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of a Global Citizen (2008)
- It Ain't So Awful, Falafel (2016)
- According to the Persian spelling دوما, her surname is pronounced the French way, with a silent 's'.
- "I-HOUSE LOVE: Romance & Friendships Made at I-House". International House at UC Berkeley.
- Hutner, Gordon (2015). Immigrant Voices (Volume 2). Penguin. p. 73. ISBN 0451472810.
- "Firoozeh Dumas". Steven Barclay Agency. 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 29, 2009). "Sonnenfeld takes helm of "Farsi" comedy pilot". Reuters.
- "Tell my audience in Iran not to buy my books!" (in Persian). Radio Shahrzad. January 31, 2014.
- Hutner, Gordon (2015). Immigrant voices Volume II. New York: New American Library. ISBN 9780698182721. Retrieved 25 March 2017.