When Nooshie Motaref fled her native Iran more than 30 years ago, it was to keep something that has been dear to her, her mother and her grandmother before her: freedom. She was a professor in Tehran when she was told she must cover her head as the Islamic revolution was stifling freedom across the country.
“I never learned to cover my head; my mother never did; my grandmother never did, so it was like a slap in the face,” she says. She left the country.
Nooshie is the author of the award-winning novel, Tapestries of the Heart, and now The Land of Roses and Nightingales, has gone through many challenging life experiences unlike many women from the Middle East.
Nooshie grew up in a family of strong women... and men. Her father owned a newspaper in Tehran. She was encouraged to pursue education and to make her own decision about marriage.
As Nooshie told the Tucson Daily Star recently, “My father several times told me it doesn't matter that I'm a woman. I have to be a human being on my own, to first be able to support myself, that it's never too late to marry and have a family and have kids.”
She grew up in Persia, and studied in Iran, Germany, Switzerland and United States. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in American Literature and Folklore from Florida State University. Her dissertation is a proof of Carl Jung’s theory, the “ Collective Unconscious,” through Persian fairytales and folktales.
She taught university courses on humanities, literature and critical thinking. And she is certified by the Conflict Resolution Program Act to promote peacemaking efforts.
In March 2014 she presented one of her articles, “Women and Islam,” for a conference, Women and Education, at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She frequently gives speeches on several subjects related to her birthplace including its culture, traditions and religion. Her purpose is to familiarize Western audiences with Iranian life and ethnicity.
Three years ago Nooshie moved to Tucson to be near her son and his family, including her young grandson.
Tapestries of the Heart: Four Women, Four Persian Generations, published in 2015 is a work of autobiographical fiction that connects narratives of four generations of Iranian women, which reflects the story of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.