About the Book
"In Journey from the Land of No Roya Hakakian
recalls her childhood and adolescence in prerevolutionary
Iran with candor and verve. The result is a beautifully
written coming-of-age story about one deeply intelligent and
perceptive girl’s attempt to find an authentic voice of her
own at a time of cultural closing and repression.
Remarkably, she manages to re-create a time and place
dominated by religious fanaticism, violence, and fear with
an open heart and often with great humor.
twelve years old in 1979 when the revolution swept through
Tehran. The daughter of an esteemed poet, she grew up in a
household that hummed with intellectual life. Family
gatherings were punctuated by witty, satirical exchanges and
spontaneous recitations of poetry. But the Hakakians were
also part of the very small Jewish population in Iran who
witnessed the iron fist of the Islamic fundamentalists
increasingly tightening its grip. It is with the innocent
confusion of youth that Roya describes her discovery of a
swastika—“a plus sign gone awry, a dark reptile with four
hungry claws”—painted on the wall near her home. As a
schoolgirl she watched as friends accused of reading
blasphemous books were escorted from class by Islamic
Society guards, never to return. Only much later did Roya
learn that she was spared a similar fate because her teacher
admired her writing.
Hakakian relates in the most poignant, and at times painful,
ways what life was like for women after the country fell
into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who had declared
an insidious war against them, but we see it all through the
eyes of a strong, youthful optimist who somehow came up in
the world believing that she was different, knowing she was
special. At her loneliest, Roya discovers the consolations
of writing while sitting on the rooftop of her house late at
night. There, “pen in hand, I led my own chorus of words,
with a melody of my own making.” And she discovers the craft
that would ultimately enable her to find her own voice and
become her own person.
A wonderfully evocative story, Journey from the Land of No
reveals an Iran most readers have not encountered and marks
the debut of a stunning new talent."
Description taken from the Random
Ms. Hakakian is a
former associate producer at CBS’s 60 Minutes and a
documentary filmmaker. She is the author of two acclaimed
volumes of poetry in Persian, a recipient of the 2002 – 2003
Dewitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fellowship, and the winner of
the 2004 Elle Readers’ Prize for Best Book of the
Year in Nonfiction. The Boston Globe describes
Journey from the Land of No as “A spectacular
debut memoir…Only a major writing talent like Hakakian can
use the pointed words of the mature mind to give the
perspective of the child…She tackles ideologies of
assimilation and oppression with poetic aplomb and
precision…Hakakian’s tale of passage into womanhood lacks
our Salisbury University 2009 Fall
New Student Reader Program will again include an essay and
art contest. In addition, we are
extending an invitation to the campus and community
residents to hear Ms. Hakakian
speak at 7:00 PM in the Great Hall of
Holloway Hall on Thursday, August 27th, the evening
prior to Convocation.
Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the New Student Reader
Program is to orient new students to our academic community
at Salisbury University by having a common reading
experience with fellow classmates, faculty, staff, and
upper-class students who serve as orientation team peer
The goal of the New Student Reader
Program is to engage students in discussions, projects,
curricular and co-curricular opportunities generated by a
common reading experience.
Committee Members of the New
Student Reader Program
Susan Brazer – Faculty/Research
and Instruction Librarian
Sarah Case – Faculty/History
Diane Davis – Faculty/Clinical Laboratory
Science/Medical Technology/Health Sciences
Lawanda Dockins-Gordy – Director/Guerrieri
Shautauqua Downs – Student (Junior)
Loren Marquez – Faculty/English
Nicole Munday – Director/University
Writing Center, Faculty/English
Patricia Richards – Faculty/REED
Edward Robeck – Faculty/
Teacher Education Department
Vaughn White – Director/Multicultural
Alex Williams - Student (Master's
Thursday, August 27th
5:30 - 6:30 PM Dinner for Essay
& Art contest winners and their families with the President
and other University Officials. Held in the
Worchester Room of the Commons.
7:00 - 8:00 PM Author,
Roya Hakakian speaks to the Community. Held in the
Great Hall and Social Room, Holloway Hall.
Friday, August 28th
9:00 - 10:00 AM Convocation.
Held in Red Square.
10:15 - 11:15 AM Small group
discussions led by Faculty & Staff. Held in various
classrooms on the SU campus.
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Academic
Held in respective Academic Schools.
12:30 - 1:30 PM Lunch on lawn
(New Students & Faculty) and Campus book signing by Author,
Roya Hakakian. Held on the lawn of Devilbiss Mall.
1:00 - 2:00 PM New Student
Reader book signing by Author, Roya Hakakian. Held
on the lawn of Devilbiss Mall.
For additional information
about the public event or about the New Student Reader
Program, please contact Lawanda Dockins-Gordy, Co-Chair, New
Student Reader Committee