Tirdad Zolghadr

Writer - Fiction

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Photograph: Oraib Toukan


Associate: Seren Adams


Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator, critic and fiction writer. Curatorial work includes art biennials as well as long-term research-driven projects. Zolghadr’s exhibition reviews and theoretical writing have appeared in magazines, essay collections, daily newspapers and artist monographies.

His third novel, Headbanger, grapples with the 1990s, and their effect on real estate, the cultural industries and our very possibility of believing in the future.

His first novel, Softcore, was published 2007 (Telegram Books). It was translated into German (KiWi 2008, Süddeutsche Zeitung 2011) and Italian (Edizioni ISBN 2008).

A second novel, Plot, appeared 2012 (Sternberg Press). Other publications include Solutions for America: 168-185 (Sternberg 2010) and TRACTION: an applied and polemical attempt to locate contemporary art (Sternberg 2016).

The impact of art & culture on city development has been a concern throughout; from his fiction to his documentary film Tehran 1380 (2001, with Solmaz Shahbazi), to the REALTY program at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, 2017-20.

Praise for SOFTCORE (2007):

'A sharp and well-timed novel... Zolghadar delights in his use of a cheeky, bold narrative voice. There is no doubting Softcore's offer of a fresh, unique glimpse of Iran– itself a considerable feat, given the relentless scrutiny under which it has been placed in recent years. The vibrant and colourful energy emitting from Softcore is, from the beginning, utterly charming, and one cannot help but be instantly seduced by it' 3:AM Magazine

'Under the guise of a thriller Softcore serves as a smart – if schizophrenic – commentary on Iran at the intersection of competing cultural and political forces, where art and politics, meaning and form are interwoven, confused and exploited' Daily Star

'A rare and fascinating glimpse of an Iran that both Ahmadinejad and the Western media would rather we didn't see' New Internationalist


Publication DetailsNotes

Telegram Books

The Promessa, a 1970s cocktail bar, is to be reopened in Tehran. Not as the glamorous location it once was, but as a slick showroom for art, fashion, and corporate receptions a heady mix of profit, culture, and metropolitan swagger. A frenetic, compelling look at modern Tehran, conspiracy theories, political fashions and the omnivorous international art world.


Publication DetailsNotes

Sternberg Press

This wryly humorous book about the state of the world's most powerful and portentous nation offers solutions to problems America may not even have known it had. Zolghadr's Iranian background throws yet another controversial element into the mix.