Farnaz Arbabi and Athena Farrokhzad, “Migration, Racism, and Revolution in Contemporary Swedish Literature and Theater”

“Belonging is like a mirror. If it breaks, you can fix it./ My mother said: But in the reflection you can see a chip” (White Blight).

Athena Farrokhzad is a writer, teacher, and commentator living in Stockholm.  Vitsvit (White Blight) was her debut, published in 2013; the book received numerous prizes and has been translated into at least a half-dozen languages. Vitsvit is a long poem about a family at home in Sweden, whose home of origin is elsewhere. A narrator relates aphoristic and contradictory exchanges between a mother, father, grandmother, and brother.  Farrokzhad’s poem challenges the often-unchallenged categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality.  Vitsvit will be published in English translation in January as White Blight by Argos books.  Her second collection of poetry, co-written with Svetlana Carstean, is forthcoming in 2016.

Farnaz Arbabi is a theater director and dramaturge living in Stockholm. She has staged, adapted, and directed work by such writers as Henrik Ibsen, Wilhelm Moberg, and Jonas Hassen Khemiri, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her theater work.

They will present on Vitsvit, which was adapted for the theater and staged at Stockholm’s Unga Klara theater, with a premiere in October of 2015. The director was Farnaz Arbabi, who also adapted Farrokhzad’s collection for the stage. Vitsvit continues to play to a full house every night in Stockholm.

With questions, contact issa@berkeley.edu or (510) 642-4484