Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

ahoma's blog

Excerpt: Ava Homa's Lullaby published by Novel Rights

“The call rings out. I tell myself the students are still learning, in secret, the history of the Kurds. The call for prayer echoes through Evin Prison. It turns me cold with fear.

Footsteps! I know the sound of those heavy boots. I know them well. My pen falls down from my bed and I curl into a ball, shrinking with fear. The pain in my head and face, legs and back, stomach and ribs becomes much sharper. Clutching at the pillow does not stop me from shaking. The footsteps stop before they reach my ward. “Hands up,” I think, and almost say it out loud.

“Hands up,” the old guard says.

I know what they are doing in the other cell. The blindfold, the click of the handcuffs, and the guards take Ali out, pushing and kicking him.

Author's Note on Writing Lullaby

May 9, 2010 was going to be a happy day: I had time to write another cover letter for yet another job that was not my forte, not being an author, before I dressed up for a party, to be ready to be picked up by my fiancé…

It was Radio Farda that announced Farzad Kamangar and four other Kurds were charged with “Animosity with God and terrorism” and hanged without warning

My tears had no reason to roll down since I did not know any of these people and they were neither the first, nor the last Kurds executed by the Iranian government. But tears don’t look for reasons and I surrendered to hours of non-stop sobs that smudged the words I’d been writing.


By Ava Homa
I grew up seeing lash scars on my father’s back. I was a toddler when he was incarcerated and tortured. Why? For possessing banned books, for being Kurdish, for not approving of the nefarious Iranian government. Since the only documents against him were his books, he was not executed; instead, he was left to deteriorate gradually, left to struggle with the never-to-be-healed and invisible traces of torture. The abhorrence he felt toward the injustice consumed my father; the damage turned him into a person he would not like had he met him before the imprisonment—irascible, reclusive, insufferable. Unless one has been tortured for one’s beliefs and stayed the same person as before that incident, one is not in any position to judge my father.

Review of Ava Homa's debut Echoes from the Other Land on Black Coffee Poet


Echoes from the Other Land (Stories)

By Ava Homa

Review by May Lui

Reading the stories in Echoes from the Other Land, I found myself absorbing and learning perspectives and realities that are both similar and very different from the world that I’m familiar with. Ava Homa writes of a world of urban Iran, a world where women; single, divorced and married; negotiate and navigate a sometimes unfriendly and harsh world of religious police, family, religion, narrow views of women’s sexuality and societal expectations for women.

This Story Has No Ending

The veteran walked victoriously through the final battle, passed all the deserts, mountains, oceans and landed in the promise terrain. But, this is not the end of the story.

She reaches for the water to satisfy her thirst and realizes that where she expected an ocean, lies only a pond which is not limpid; that its limits are discernible to her tired eyes. She rubs them and looks at the people around her to whom she looks invisible, who don’t like her look and accent, who are absorbed with body and don't believe in the injured soul that she strove so hard to save, who can’t even imagine what a battle-field looks like, who feel the warrior and people like her are mere invaders.

Reincarnation of Icarus

Her eyes are innocent, that doesn't mean she is a dove to settle at the roof of a house and breed. She is a falcon that flies afar, that knows no destiny, no mate, no home.

Weary of storm and starvation, she sits at a nest that is not hers, that is not welcoming. Wounded, she flies away, higher and higher. The further she goes, the less the number of the refuges that she takes. That makes her put her exhausted wings together and sit at nowhere.

The fatigue makes her nest more than before while the bitter experiences make her fly away soon while staring doubtfully at the pleading eyes of the mate who sheltered her for a while. Excuse her; she does not belong to your warm, luring fireplace. She is the reincarnation of Icarus, with waxy wings and no fear of the sun.

Writing is Geological, Reading is Archaeological

“As writers, our desires and our limits enter our stories, dressed up as events and characters; as readers, through our desires and limits, we take up these events and characters, or their lacks and make them ours, or don’t.” (Tillman)

I try to write you, but I'm writing myself. I'm not even sure if I am the one who writes or I'm just a means through whom something gets written. I'm part of a bigger narrative myself, shaping and being shaped by it. Narratives are embedded with what we think and how we think, with what we know and how we know them.

Can you find yourself in the excerpt of Echoes from the Other Land you just read?

An Excerpt of Echoes from the Other Land by Ava Homa


“Every relative is willing to donate something, as much as they can.” I recognize Ronak’s voice, my aunt.

“I know, but it’s a high-risk surgery. What can I say? How can I make a decision like that for her?” That voice is Mom speaking.

“Trust God, dear.”

“What’ve I done to deserve this?” Mom asks. “For which sin?”

You Are Creative

Your task is not to find intuition but to seek and destroy all the obstacles to creativity that you have built against it.

You can be creative if you

1. Stop thinking creativity only belongs to special people. He is creative. She is creative. We are creative. I am creative. Creativity needs to respected, encouraged and practiced. After all, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

2. Be open to changes. Don’t be angry when your favourite coffee shop redecorates or facebook and google change their template. Accept and enjoy the new look.

This is a Confession Not a Poem

I have pushed away that perpetual presence and neglected the past.


In my excavation for meaning,

In my urge to justify an insignificant existence,

I walk back to find a lost me in the dusty, dark hallways.

Time and I run away in opposite directions.

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