Roya Hakakian

Conversations with History, UC Berkeley

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Roya Hakakian whose book "Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran," chronicles her intellectual odyssey from teenage rebel to Iranian-American writer. In the conversation, Roya Hakakian reflects on the craft of writing, the importance of poetry in Iranian culture, the betrayal of the revolution by the Ayatollahs and the impact of the revolution on the Jewish community in Iran. She also compares the struggle within both Islam and Judaism as young people reconcile modernity with religious identity.


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by Golinedairani on

"چون ايران نباشد تن من مباد"  You know whats funny how amazingly paranoid and rude some of you are Roya Hakakian is just an Iranian who wrote a memoir and you can not leave it at that.. I know of this lady and her husband and they are both amazingly brilliant Iran lovers.. ..I wont post any information as it is there private business and lives and for those of you who just can not understand non muslims were also the children of the revolution, I'm now 35 I gave my youth to those damn bombs my brothers life to the army, my college years to the Basij and Roya and me should around the same age she left earlier than me but her life was just as effected nasle ma naslist ke sookht.. how dare any of us judge her or anyone else that has pain because of their life in Iran... Try begole Americaya to have some EMPATHY

Nader Vanaki

مجموعه ای دیگر از داستانهای ننه من غریبم

Nader Vanaki

ایشان در سن دوازده سالگی انقلاب را دیدند و چند سال بعد مجبور شدند تمام کتابهای خود را دور بریزند و حالا عمیقآ این اتفاقات را در کتاب خود مورد تحلیل قرار داده اند


Let's hear from those who "lived" it!!!

by hooshie on

Words are cheap. What are those stories that are supposed to be  "exaggerated." Tell us your version or keep quiet.


jamale een royaioon ham eshgh ast

by Jammal Eshghee (not verified) on

Babba damet garm Aberoo khareedi jamaletooo.


To whom saying " she exaggerated events in her book..."

by Happy Boy (not verified) on

To who keep saying that " she exaggerated events in her book" . This is the way she has seen events to unfold during the Revelation, thru eyes of a very young teenage girl.
To you it might be exaggeration after 30 has passed but to her it was all real when she experienced it at a very young age.
She is telling the story the way she saw it thru the eyes of a teenager the way she saw it at the moments.
I'm so proud of her, she is a woman who has the courage to take the fight against brutality, savage and injustice of Islmo fascist in Iran.

Azarin Sadegh

Nice interview!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thanks for posting this interview! As an Iranian, I'm very proud of the success of Roya! I don't know another Iranian writer being praised by the legendary Harold Bloom!

A memoir by definition is the author's memoir, not the reader's. In the publishing world, a memoir has to go through many procedures before getting published. It is just to make sure that the series of events of the book are true. Of course, as readers we can believe the author or is our choice. After all, most books are not written to please everyone...But I personally enjoyed Roya's writing, and I found the last 50 pages of her memoir exquisite and very moving!

BTW, Roya has written a very nice essay about the jewish-Iranian community:


Thanks, azarin  


Darius Jaan Kadivar,

by mollahLoghati (not verified) on

"Baba Teh" is one word "Babateh". It took me a long time to get your meaning.


Yes, she exaggerated events in her book, but she shandled . . .

by Javadagha on

I thought Mr. Harry Kresiler asked her poor questions.  One would think that a person representing an educational institution would know the difference between Iran and Eye-ran, or Persian and Farsi, but he did not. 

Yes, she exaggerated events in her book, but she handled herself well in this interview.  She deserves to be an Eye-ranian of the Day.


I loved the interview and am looking forward to reading the book

by exPat (not verified) on

If you did not like the interview because her perspective is different than yours, remember that is exactly why you should read this book. For example, there would have been no way for me to notice that IRI is systematically tries to use the Jewish Iranian schools, hospital and other cultural organizations which traditionally mostly been supported and managed by the Jewish Iranian charity to infiltrate and change the nature of the Jewish Iranian community; just like the body snatchers.

If you think the revolution was about building a fundamentalist Islamic government and Iran. This book in not for your. She is an “informer” just like the rest of “them” and God knows the last think you need is to be informed.



by Anonymous77 (not verified) on

I've thoroughly enjoyed this interview. what a gentle generous,humble and intelligent person



by eroonman on

Yet another long book by yet another realtively privileged Iranian woman, who broke a nail during the revolution, and now calls it a "women's movement".

Why don't you gals just go get some therapy like we men do? Oh wait, writing this drivel IS therapy. Plus you get paid by the publisher.

Nevermind, I get it, this is a brilliant book!


I agree with dokhtar e Iran

by Abarmard on

I was one of the first people who got that book. I was excited to read it. It was right after a series of the kind that I was enjoying: Reading Lolita in Tehran, Tales of the two cities, Journey to the land of no, it was a no to me. She exaggerated the events and I did not see her genuine in that book. However, if you have enjoyed memoires of the similar writers then you would enjoy this one too.

This is a nice interview.


roya hakakian has written the most beautiful memoir

by Ameerah (not verified) on

amazing story, beautifully written.she is a great writer and her description of pre and post-revolutionary iran is vivid and stimulating.i just hope she writes more books. what a talent!


I haven't read the book - "

by Fatollah (not verified) on

I haven't read the book - " Journey from the Land of No"! I enjoyed her interview, such a brilliant and beautiful mind. Not, sure why she's attacked? I sure hell will read her book now!

Darius Kadivar

Babak Reza "Animal" Baba Teh ...

by Darius Kadivar on

So this is how You IRI apologists indulge in intellectual discourse insulting UNDER ANONYMITY other Intellectuals and writers ? You People Burned Books like during the Nazi Era so any outlook that bothers your views and disturbs your idealistic vision of the Revolution bothers you.

No wonder you Like the Smell of the IRI Shit. You Are One yourself !


What a super intelligent lady

by Happy Boy (not verified) on

I loved the interview, she so intelligent....I'm so proud of her. I can not wait till I get the book...


Eyes on the prize (meaning State Department funding)

by AnonymousAgha (not verified) on

Her eager willingness to advance the U.S. government's agenda vis-a-vis Iran is what has endeared her so much to Fred. The woman is a fabricator, pure and simple, as other commentators on have attested.


So true, Irandokht

by Tara from Iran (not verified) on

These people are in the business of "translating" their Iranian experience into the American language. The problem is that the "original" is already phony.

Really, as if we weren't there...!

This Roya khanom produced a couple of heart-felt poems early in her career -- sweet and sincere if not overly literate -- but then she became Jewish-Iranian-American and kar kharab shod!

Please don't delete this, dear moderator. Roya Hakkakian has made herself a public figure and it should be OK for the public to express its views of her!


I couldn't finish her book

by IRANdokht on

I found a few disturbing twists of facts (I am trying not to call them lies) in the first 10-20 pages of Roya's book, that I just had to quit reading the book.
Maybe her story's good enough for people who were not there before and during the revolution, but most of us can tell...


PS: for those who will show up asking who I mean by "us", let me save you a couple of minutes here:

us = the ones who actually lived it


Eyes on the prize

by Fred on

Roya Hakakian and her husband, Ramin Ahmadi MD have dedicated their truly phenomenal talents to the cause of freedom.

They are charter member of that large group of Iranians who have understood the nature of the IRI, never fallen for the thousand and one tricks it has up its cloak and have resolutely kept their eyes on the prize.

From time immemorial it has always been banding together of Iranians just like them that selflessly time and again have come to the rescue of the Iranian nation in her hour of need. 

Darius Kadivar

Great Interview Roya !

by Darius Kadivar on

Another interesting and in depth interview by Harry Kreisler. I enjoyed Roya's thoughtful responses too.

Good Job Roya Jaan !