Fariba Sedighim was born in 1959 C.E., 1338 of the Persian Calendar, henceforth P.C., to a religious Jewish family of Nahavand, Iran. The youngest child of the family, she grew up alongside her sister and two brothers in the traditionally Jewish neighborhood of the town. Her father Mehdi Sedighim had a general merchandise retail store in the Bazaar, while her mother Rahel “Rachel” Nassiri was a housewife devoted to raising her children.
Fariba studied at the Ettehad “Alliance” Elementary of the town up to the fourth grade. Books were hard to come by in their small town. Nevertheless, she showed her interest in literature from an early age, as she listened to her mother telling her stories and parables. In 1969 C.E., 1348 P.C., as her brothers were admitted to the university, she moved with her family to Tehran.
In the capital, she was excited to find the gates open before her upon the vast world of books. She made up for the lost time by becoming a library member, and she started to read incessantly. In the Preface to one of her books, Fariba Sedighim writes:
“Like most people, I enjoyed reading as a child, and I practiced to write in my mind, until one day, I finally got hold of a pen and a pile of blank paper. Then life took a whole new turn for me. With every story that I wrote, I experienced people, things, myself, in new ways. Every time, I felt growing bigger, taller than I was; and I felt the happier.”
The young Fariba took down scattered notes for herself. In the Composition classes, however, she began to understand form and structure, and she learned how to grapple with writing. By then, her classmates had found out about her gift and passion for writing, and they could ask her for help with their compositions. The teachers’ encouragements were among the turning points of her life, as they very much helped raise her self-confidence in general, and particularly in writing. It felt pleasant that her teachers called her “the light of the school.”
She received her high school education at the Ganj‑e Danesh — i.e. “The Treasure of Knowledge” a.k.a. the Otzar HaTorah — later known as the Kossar High School, in the Fakhr-Abad neighborhood of Tehran. About that time, she began to write poetry, mostly imbued with a nostalgic and melancholic air. She remembers how the shadow of sorrow in her poems had worried members of her family. Fariba kept what she wrote in a safe box. Exuding a scent of youth, her work was largely romantic in spirit. She spoke of sorrows, separations and the cruelties of a life which she hadn’t much experienced yet. She says that as early as those days, she somewhat desired purity, and she experienced a yearning outlook on perfection and humanity in her writings.
Having passed the national admission exams known as the Concours, she landed herself in Tehran University. In 1983 C.E., 1362 P.C., she graduated in Physical Therapy from the School of Medicine at the said university, and she began work in her field. About that time, she married her future husband Morad Pajouhan. The couple brought two sons to the world.
Fariba Sedighim took up writing yet more seriously when she took courses in Child Psychology at the Simin Institute of Tehran. As she grew more familiar with children’s literature, she started to write stories for children. She got to know Kanoon Parvaresh Fekri… — i.e. “The Children and Youth Intellectual Nurturing Center” — as well as the Council of Children’s Books, where in the presence of such masters as Ms. Mirhadi, she learned more and was further encouraged. She collaborated with such children’s publications as the well-known Kayhan Bacheha, i.e. “Kayhan for Children”.The result were 15 books for children and youngsters, published by well-regarded publishers, and many awards.
In 1992 C.E., 1371 P.C., Fariba Sedighim published her first book in Persian, entitled in translation Two Brothers, Two Friends.
Around that time, Fariba began to write stories for adults, in addition to her flourishing poetry and children’s stories. Having experienced writing for the grown-ups, she spoke of the difference between those two distinct worlds in the Preface to a book of hers:
“I don’t know why, but the words dance and laugh when I’m writing for children, whereas they feel sad when I’m writing for adults. Don’t take my word for it. It’s evident in my work. It might be that I like less my adulthood.”
To learn more, Fariba participated at the literary chambers, including the lessons of Master Nasser Irani. During the class, students learned from the master and presented their works to be discussed by the group. At the completion of the course, Fariba Sedighim’s The Endless Night was chosen as the best story, and she was awarded for her achievement.
Before long, Fariba was sending her poems and short stories to literary magazines and other publications, thus opening a new chapter in her cultural activities. At the systematic lessons of Dr. Reza Baraheni, she deepened her understanding of poetry, storytelling, form and structure. She learned more, she wrote more seriously, and she let what she learned to show up in her work and to define her path.
Later, she participated in and learned from the storytelling workshops of the author Houshang Golshiri. She also began to write critical reviews. To her, criticism was the twin sibling of writing, and it excited her as much. She wrote several critical reviews of novels, stories and poems, which were published in related periodicals. Moreover, she taught some courses in storytelling, thus passing on what she had acquired to the others.
In the early 2000’s C.E., 1380’s P.C., besides books for children and youngsters, Fariba Sedighim published a collection of poetry in Persian entitled Postpone Me No More, as well as a diverse collection of stories which employed various techniques entitled The Endless Night. Fariba’s poetry, particularly those of Postpone Me No More, emphasized the significance of technique, and especially the language, to poetry, and they were seen as postmodern works which represented a new wave for their time. Her first story, The Endless Night, which also provided the title of the collection, is about a Jewish woman who returns after years, alongside her mother and brother, to their small hometown. As they pay a visit to the local Jewish cemetery, they find out that the remains of their deceased relatives had been bulldozed.
In 2001 C.E., Fariba Sedighim immigrated to the United States with her family, and she settled in Los Angeles. The difficulties of immigration made her put writing on hold, and to focus instead on a college degree in ultrasound Sonography. Nevertheless, the need to write would not leave her, as she continued to compose in her mind. Having earned her degree, she began to practice and teach Sonography. Eventually, her need to write won over her daily problems, and thus, a three-year hiatus came to an end. She joined The Saturday Meetings, a respected Persian literary group in Los Angeles, and she resumed writing more seriously. Her new creative phase produced an array of works in Persian, including a collection of poems entitled This Heart Won’t Beat Regularly; two collections of stories, namely, The Candles Beneath the Colander and I Was Once a British Woman; three works for children and youngsters entitled I Love You as Much as the Folds in My Skirt, Do You Know My Friend?, and Who Took All the Water in the Lake?; and a novel entitled Leora.
Her recent poems show more experience than in the past. She now employs more visualization and draws on more modern poetic techniques to establish a closer connection to her reader. In particular, her experience as an immigrant has flowed into her stories, deepening their substance.
Fariba Sedighim never severed her umbilical cord to her motherland. As she says, “I’ve constantly maintained an emotional and internal connection to my birthplace through publishing my books.”
Leora is Fariba’s first novel. It took her several years to write, until it was published in 2016 C.E. by the Nougām Publisher, London. The novel is about a Jewish woman, whose cold relation with her husband makes her return to her past life and re-examine herself.
For awhile, Fariba Sedighim also acted as the Chief Editor of the Shofar Magazine of Los Angeles, during which period she collaborated with Shokrollah Baravarian in the publication of the respected periodical.
Fariba Sedighim’s published works in Persian include:
Works for Children and the Youth:
(*)The dates are indicated in the Persian Calendar.
Two Brothers, Two Friends; 1371 (1992 C.E.), Zolal Pubs.
What Should I Paint?; 1371, Kanoon Parvaresh Fekri… Pubs.
What Would’ve Mother Done?; 1372, Zolal Pubs.
Saeed and His Toys; 1372, Zolal Pubs.
Ahmad and the Rose Bush; 1373, Farhang va Honar Pubs.
How to Make Mom Happy!; 1373, Farhang va Honar Pubs.
Me, Myself; 1373, Farhang va Honar Pubs.
Don’t Cry Tears of Pearls (Sefid Geryeh Nakon); 1374, Daftar-e Nashr Farhang... Pubs.
Little Ones & the Grown-Ups; 1376, Daftar-e Nashr Farhang Eslami Pubs.
The Little Genius; 1377, Naghsh-e Honar Pubs.
Lady in the Blue Pullover; 1378, Nashr-e Assr Pubs.
The Study-Aid for the Elementary Third Grade Textbook; 1378, Faegh Pubs.
I Love You; 1392 (2013 C.E.), Chekkeh Pubs.
Do You Know My Friend?; 1393 (2014 C.E.), Parandeh-ye Abi Pubs.
Who Took All the Water in the Lake?; 1395 (2016 C.E.), Parandeh-ye Abi Pubs.
Works for Adults:
(*) The dates are indicated in the Persian Calendar.
Postpone Me No More, Collection of Poetry; 1377 (1998 C.E.), Sarvād Pubs.
The Endless Night, Collection of Stories;1378, Negah-e Sabz Pubs.
The Candles Beneath the Colander, Collection of Stories;1382, Nazar Pubs.
This Heart Won’t Beat Regularly, Collection of Poetry; 1391 (2012 C.E.), Morvarid Pubs.
I Was Once a British Lady, Collection of Stories;1391, Ghoghnus “Phoenix” Pubs.
Leora, a Novel; 1395 (2016 C.E.), Nougam Pubs., London.