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MAHMUD DOULATABADI

Born in the Khurasan village of Dowlatabad (near Sabzavar), short-story writer and novelist Mahmud Doulatabadi was the most prominent Iranian novelist of the 1980s. Self-educated and forced to work from childhood, Doulatabadi spent part of his younger adult years as a stage actor in Tehran. His first collection of stories was called Lāyeh'hā-ye biyābāni (Desert strata) and appeared in 1969. 

A second collection called Do dāstān (Two stories) appeared in 1970. Then came a series of novels: Safar (The trip, 1969, revised 1974), Owsaneh-ye Bābā Sobhān (The legend of Baba Sobhan, 1970), Gāvāreh-bān (Cowherd, 1972), Bā Shobayru (With Shobayru, 1973), Hejrat-e Solaymān (Solomon's emigration, 1974), 'Aqil, 'Aqil (Aqil, Aqil, 1974), Mard (Man, 1974), Didār-e Baluch (Visit to the Baluch, 1978), and Az kham-e chanbar (Through the hoop, 1978) are his chief writings before the Revolution. Doulatabadi's 1979 novel Jā-ye khāli-ye Soluch (Soluch's empty place) treated the decline of Iranian village life in the 1960s. His magnum opus is the monumental 3'000-page saga called Klidar (1978-83), which narrates the lives of Kurdishtribespeople and peasants in a poverty-stricken village in Khurasan in the mid-1940s. Doulatabadi lives with his family in Tehran. Hetraveled to Europe in 1990 and visited the United States in 1991, lecturing on literature and politics. A portion of his novel Ruzgār-e separi shodeh-ye mardom-e sālkhordeh (The bygone days of old folks) was published in mid-1991 under the title Eqlim-e bād (Realm of the wind). A volume recording a series of interviews Doulatabdi gave to a group of writers and editors, Mā niz mardomi hastim (We are also a people, 1990), gives a clear picture of his views on writing, as one of the first Iranian writers of interpretive fiction to support himself exclusively or primarily by writing. The publication of a three-volume collection of stories called Kārnāmeh-ye seh panj (The record of this transient world) was announced in 1990.

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