Porochista Khakpour

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Khakpour in 2014

Porochista Khakpour (born January 17, 1978) is an Iranian American novelist, essayist and writer.


  • Estrangement is a constant theme in all of my work. The thing that makes it really difficult is people will look at me and not understand why I feel like an outsider, or why I couldn’t belong in all kind of circumstances. I’m one of those people who visually presents as whoever you want—whatever ethnicity or race is predominant. For me, the challenge is always figuring out what people’s assumptions are, and how I can actually take up space against their assumptions. Because they’re almost always wrong about who I am. That’s a hard thing to get used to in America…
  • When I first started writing, it was much more important for me to appeal to academic audiences or an imagined high-art literary audience. The older I get, the more important it is for me to communicate with everyone and anyone. Right now to me, America is in a crisis of constant misunderstandings. Some of it is willful ignorance, but some of it is not willful and it requires people to explain things…
  • We have a really shamefully horrid healthcare system, and I think that’s part of it. It’s much more convenient to think these people are just crazy, or it’s in their heads. It’s a very real thing; I don’t know of anyone who doubts it any more. Occasionally I encounter people that do. I’m astounded at their wilful ignorance; it’s not actual ignorance.

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