Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is a writer and dramatist. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1968 to an Iranian father and a Jewish-American mother, both of whom were members of the Socialist Workers Party. He was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His stories and essays have appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Open City, and other publications. Saïd lives in New York City with his wife Karen.
His latest book, WHEN SKATEBOARDS WILL BE FREE, has been longlisted for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize and has also been named as one of the Ten Best Books of 2009, as selected by Dwight Garner of The New York Times.
For more information about this author, please visit his website.
WHEN SKATEBOARDS WILL BE FREE, Hamish Hamilton, 25 Jun 09
The revolution is not only inevitable, it is imminent. It is not only imminent, it is quite imminent. And when the time comes, my father will lead it.
Saïd Sayrafiezadeh's Iranian-born father and American Jewish mother had one thing in common: their unshakable conviction that the workers' revolution was coming. Separated since their son was nine months old, they each pursued a dream of the perfect socialist society. Bouncing with his mother between makeshift Pittsburgh apartments, falling asleep at party meetings, longing for the luxuries he's taught to despise, Saïd waits for the revolution that never, ever arrives. 'Soon,' his mother assures him, while his long-absent father quixotically runs as a socialist candidate for president in an Iran about to fall under the ayatollahs. Then comes the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979...
The uproar that follows is the first time Saïd hears the word 'Iran' in school, and there he is suddenly forced to confront the combustible stew of his identity: as an American, an Iranian, a Jew, a socialist . . . and a middle-school kid who loves football and video games.
With a profound gift for capturing the absurd in life, and a deadpan wisdom that comes from surviving a surreal childhood in the Socialist Workers Party, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh has crafted an unsentimental, funny, heartbreaking memoir.
'I…wish Saïd Sayrafiezadeh had a surname that is simpler to pronounce. (Try this: say-RAH-fee-ZAH-day.) Because it’s one that you may want to remember and be able to speak aloud, if this exacting and finely made first book is any indication.' Dwight Garner, New York Times
'When Skateboards Will Be Free [is] heartbreaking and hilarious, sometimes both at once…' Guardian, editors' pick
'Sayrafiezadeh’s excellent memoir displays a sophistication and keen intelligence that allows him to walk the line between pain and humor without even seeming mawkish or cheaply cynical.' Publishers Weekly, starred review
'achingly truthful… not a pat tale of redemption but an adult's honest reckoning with his peculiar American childhood.' Newsday
'Sayrafiezadeh maintains his generous spirit throughout this eloquent memoir.' Washington Post