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Home > Children's Authors > Mahvash Shahegh

Mahvash Shahegh
Photo of Mahvash Shahegh

Mahvash Shahegh is an author, educator, researcher, and translator. She has written a book that will be published by Wisdom Tales under the title The Green Musician (coming in August, 2015). It is a children’s book that is being illustrated by Claire Ewart. The Green Musician was translated and adapted from a major Persian epic poem that is over a thousand years old, and Mahvash focused the story in the book on a small segment of the epic poem. The text of Mahvash’s book is not in the form of poetry, but she has managed to maintain the feel of a magical time and place long ago with vivid images of grand royal events, jealous opponents, magnificent gardens, enchanting music and the power of persistence! 

Mahvash Shahegh has shared with us how she came to write the book:

About five years ago (i.e. around 2009), I started a Shahnameh (“The Book of Kings” of Persia) reading group.
photo of Mahvash Shahegh with her grandson JamesMahvash Shahegh with grandson James
While reading it, I stumbled on the story of Barbad and Sarkash. They are two famous and talented musicians of the Sasanian Dynasty (224 CE to 651 CE) who are mentioned in the epic, and this attracted my attention. The scenery, the characters, and the story were so vivid and colorful that it made me think of my two grandchildren and how much they would enjoy listening to and reading this story. Thinking of them was great motivation for me to retell and translate the story into English, for not only my own two grandchildren, but for children all over the world.  There are some human aspects in literature that surpass the boundaries of man-made borders. They belong to the whole of humanity. I hope The Green Musician is one of those stories and that children from different cultures will enjoy reading it just as much.

Mahvash Shahegh’s own story began in her native Iran and, like the story in The Green Musician, involves a transition to another culture. Here is her personal story, told in her own words:

I was born, raised, and educated in Tehran, Iran. I earned a PhD degree in Persian language and literature before my two children and I moved to the United States.

My dissertation was “The Trace of Fairies in Persian Stories and Literature.” You can see that from the beginning I was interested in stories in general and fairy tales in particular.

After moving to America, I signed up my son, my daughter, and myself, for elementary school, middle school and college, respectively. My major was English language and literature and we all began the hard work. I remember I wrote an essay that was published in my college journal under the title “How William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway Saved Me from Being Homesick.” As you see, reading was part of my regimen for survival.

When I started the graduate program of Library and Information Science, one of my courses in the library school was children’s and young adult literature. I forgot to mention that in my home away from home, America, before reading Faulkner and Hemingway, I started my intense reading with Judy Blume’s books for children and young adults. My favorite of hers, which I enjoyed enormously and which I remember vividly to this day, is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

After finishing my education in America, I worked for a while as a librarian and then as an instructor teaching my native language, Persian. I taught for a few years at Johns Hopkins University before my retirement. I published a two-volume book for college students on how to learn Persian.

Dr. Mahvash Shahegh’s Persian language book, co-authored with two of her colleagues and put out by IBEX Publishers, is titled Learning Persian.

Awards Won by This Author’s Books

  • The Green Musician, illustrated by Claire Ewart:
    • Finalist in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards, in the category “Picture Books”
    • Gold Medal in the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Book of the Year Awards, in the “Interior Design: 3 or more Color: Children's/Young Adult” category

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