Status: In Exile
Sepideh Jodeyri is an Iranian poet who translated the French graphic novel Blue is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh into Persian. Jodeyri’s translation of the novel, which tells the story of a romance between two women in Paris, made her a persona non grata in Iran and forced her into exile. Though Jodeyri had already begun to face increasing censorship in the country for her poetry and her criticism of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, her translation of Blue enraged clerics, who denounced her viciously in the media and started a smear campaign against her. She moved to Italy with her family as a guest writer for PEN Italy in 2009, moved to Prague in 2011, and settled in Washington D.C. in 2017.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sepideh Jodeyri said, “I’ve been declared persona non grata in my own country…An event organized [in Tehran] for my recent poetry collection And Etc. was cancelled, the organizer was sacked from his job, my publisher was threatened with having his license suspended and interviews were withdrawn, all because of the negative publicity in the conservative media around my translation of Maroh’s book.”
Jodeyri’s first book, Dreams of an Amphibious Girl, a collection of poems, was published in 2000, followed by Logical, a collection of short stories, published in 2001. In 2005, she published The Raven, a selection of Edgar Allan Poe poems translated into Persian. Jodeyri’s second collection of poems, Pink Inclined to My Blood, was published in 2007. Her poetry has been translated into English, Swedish, and Dutch. She has been working under escalating censorship throughout her literary career. Her second and fourth books were heavily censored, and her fifth book, a collection of poems, was banned from publication altogether.
Homosexuality is punishable by death or 100 lashes in Iran, and the LGBT community there faces ongoing persecution and harassment.