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WINNER OF THE VIRGINIA PRIZE FOR FICTIONLiving in post-revolutionary Tehran, Layla refuses to bow to the ayatollahs' rules, resisting her mother's relentless attempts to find her a suitable husband. Instead, she embarks on an illicit affair with her art teacher, Keyvan, and they tentatively imagine a future together.But the sudden death of her uncle, an outspoken journalist, raises many unanswered questions and when Layla's cousin, who is visiting from America, is arrested by the morality police, the komiteh, Layla's plans for the future begin to unravel."e;I was totally captivated by this novel. Layla is torn between her heart and the restrictions of her culture. She obeys her heart though not without a price. This wonderfully poetic story keeps you hooked right to the very end."e; -Stephanie Hale, author and broadcaster"e;a bittersweet tale of betrayed trust and ruptured innocence the feel for colour and language is vibrant"e; - featured in TheGuardian first novel selection"e;Vividly written, fresh and eloquent, a girl's poignant tale of love and menace in contemporary Iran."e; -Fay Weldon"e;I loved this book. It gives you real insight into the world of educated middle-class Iranians in the early 21st century. We are so used to the Iranians we meet in the UK that we do not realise how hard it is to live under their political regime at home. A joy to read."e; -www.openingthebook.comLouise Soraya BlackBorn in England in 1977 to an English mother and Iranian father.Her father worked for UNICEF so she spent 17 years living overseas, in countries including Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. In spite of all this travel, she had strong roots: the family spent their summers in England and winter holidays in Iran.She began an English degree at University College London, but after a year switched to Law. She spent 8 years in corporate law but was unfulfilled so began writing in her spare time.She felt it was important to write about Iran because Iran is portrayed in the media as a bleak and oppressive place. She wanted to show Iran as a beautiful country, where the food is delicious, and Iranians are warm and hospitable. And while the media tends to paint a portrait of Iranian women as submissive and voiceless, this was not at all her experience so she created resilient and brave female characters in her novel.She had just about given up hope of finding a publisher for this novel, when she found out that Pomegranate Sky had won the Virginia Prize, a new literary prize for unpublished women writers. She was astonished and overjoyed, particularly when the novel received excellent reviews. After the birth of her son, she didn't return to law and instead, decided to focus on her writing. She has just completed her second novel.Show more
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