News & Events


Forthcoming Book: Divided Loyalties, House of Anansi Press,

Feb 5, 2019

Book cove_August 2018

In her debut collection, Divided Loyalties, acclaimed poet Nilofar Shidmehr depicts the lives of Iranian women in post-revolutionary Iran and the contemporary diaspora in Canada — the expectations imposed on them as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives, and the struggle to shed their socially conditioned identities.

The collection ranges from Tehran in 1978, when some affluent girls play a simple Cinderella game with unexpected consequences, foreshadowing the Iranian Revolution and its violent aftermath; to 1980s Iran, as women help their husbands and brothers survive war and political upheaval throughout the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution; to the 1990s in Vancouver, where an alcoholic single-mother refugee is harassed by the men she meets through a telephone dating platform; to the present day, following Iranian-Canadians who travel back to Iran on their own personal journeys.

Shidmehr’s style is at once straightforward and nuanced and the depth of her insight into familial and romantic relationships is undeniable. She has a striking clarity of vision and the poise of a poet who has been compared to Dionne Brand and Pablo Neruda. Divided Loyalties presents dynamic stories of Iranian and Iranian-Canadian lives in all their dignity, intimacy, and enduring complexity.

Advance Praise for Nilofar Shidmehr and Divided Loyalties

“Each story in Divided Loyalties is like a new window into Iran’s complex post-revolutionary history, its hardships as well as its beauties, its griefs as well as its unwavering will to survive. A touching, fascinating read.”

—Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree

“Shidmehr narrates the lives of her characters with as much fluid intensity and grace as they are lived.”

– Musharraf Ali Farooqi, author of Between Clay and Dust and The Story of a Widow

“Nilofar Shidmehr is a master storyteller. Divided Loyalties shows girls and women at the intersection of place and time during pre- and post-revolutionary Iran. Each of these carefully examined lives is a fierce flame that will startle and burn in the memory long after you’ve finished this book.”

— Maureen Medved, author of Black Star

Divided Loyalties weaves rich and complex stories spanning decades of Iran’s contemporary history and provides an intimate glimpse of lives scattered across different worlds. The stories of the characters in these pages speak to the universal experience of love, loss, and longing.”

— Payam Akhavan, author of In Search of a Better World

“A stunningly intimate portrait of the lives of Iranian women. Tenderly observed and hauntingly portrayed, Nilofar Shidmehr’s stories of love, loss, and exile shine with a rare grace.”

– Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of Among the Ruins

“Iran is a complicated country with thousands of years of history. In Divided Loyalties, with a deft hand, Nilofar Shidmehr takes us through the suffering of its people over the last four decades. An important book that sheds light on how a people can survive their darkest years.”

–Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran

“These complex and intimate stories of Iranian women are like nothing I’ve ever read before. Nilofar Shidmehr’s perspective is wise, unique and compelling.”

–Farzana Doctor, author of All Inclusive

“Shidmehr’s intimate tone adds a special poignancy to these stories of women harbouring secrets.”

— Rabindranath Maharaj, author of The Amazing Absorbing Boy

“In bold and uncompromising prose, Shidmehr’s stories move between Iran and Canada, and compel us to reflect on complex issues of class, gender, and racial inequities.”

— Nima Naghibi, author of Women Write Iran: Nostalgia and Human Rights from the Diaspora

“Nilofar Shidmehr’s collection of short stories is accurately titled. The divided loyalties that torment these Persian women, whether they are still living in Iran or have emigrated to Canada, is her painful subject matter, and Shidmehr examines every nuance of it in fiction that is fierce, meticulously observed, beautifully crafted, and authoritative. A stunning work.”

–Keith Maillard, author of Gloria and Twin Studies

“Nilofar Shidmehr offers to readers deep stories of complex Iranian women characters. They are compassionate, strong and determined. This is a beautifully written collection with poetic language.”

— Monia Mazigh, author of Hope Has Two Daughters


Upcoming book launches:

To be announced.

Past book lunches:

Book launch for Two Women on Lions Gate Bridge and A City, A Woman

برنامه رونمایی کتاب در لندن

Location: The Library for Iranian Studies, The Woodlands Hall, Crown Street, Acton, London, UK W3 8SA
Time: Saturday June 16, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.


Book launch for Two Women on Lions Gate Bridge and A City, A Woman

برنامه رونمایی کتاب در کلن

Location: Tallerwelthaus, Konerstrase 77, 50823 Cologne, Germany
Time: Saturday June 22, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.
Book launch for A City, A Woman
Location: Iranian Women Cultural Group Monthly Gathering, West Vancouver Community Center, 2121 Marine Drive, West Vancouver.
Time: Sunday January 14, 2018