Awardee Database


Sassan Tabatabai

Sassan Tabatabai won the 2023 Persian Translation Prize for his translation of Sadeq Hedayat’s Blind Owl. Tabatabai holds a prominent position as the head of the Persian program at Boston University, where he regularly teaches all levels of Persian language and literature. His multifaceted expertise extends beyond academia, encompassing roles as a poet, translator, editor, and scholar specializing in medieval Persian literature. His work has appeared in a number of publications including Essays in Criticism, The Christian Science Monitor, Literary Imagination, The Republic of Letters, Senecca Review, Leviathan Quarterly and Harvard Review Online. He is the author of Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and his Poetry (Leiden University Press, 2010), Uzunburun: Poems (Pen and Anvil, 2011) and Sufi Haiku (Nemi Books, 2021).

Patricia J. Higgins

Patricia J. Higgins is a University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Emerita, at SUNY Plattsburgh. Her UC Berkeley Ph.D. was based, in part, on research she conducted on education and socialization in elementary schools Tehran, Iran, from 1969 to 1971; she carried out further research on Iranian education as a Fulbright Lecturer at Tehran University in 1977-78. Higgins has held leadership positions with the Council on Anthropology and Education, the Society for Applied Anthropology and the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis; she is currently on the Board of Directors of SUNY Plattburgh’s DANESH Institute. She has authored and edited numerous books and articles on education and anthropology. In addition to Hafez in Love, she has co-translated several works from Persian to English with fellow prize-winner Shabani-Jadidi.

Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi

Pouneh Shabani-Jadid won the 2021 Persian Translation Prize for her translation of Iraj Pezeshkzad’s Hafez in Love. Formerly a Senior Faculty Lecturer of Persian Language and Linguistics at McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies, Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi is currently an Instructional Professor of Persian in the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. With a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa and a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Tehran’s Azad University, she has taught Persian language, linguistics, literature and translation since 1997and published on a variety of topics. From 2018-20, she served as President of the American Association of Teachers of Persian. Shabini-Jadidi has co-translated several books from Persian, partnering several times with fellow prize-winner Patricia Higgins. Of her approach she writes: “I have a passion for languages and how they work. Being a multilingual myself, I always find it intriguing to compare and contrast the structure and the lexicon of two or more languages…. When it comes to translating a book, I believe in collaborative translation where a source-language native speaker works closely with a target-language native speaker.”

Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh

Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh was awarded this prize for his translation of Born upon the Dark Spear: Selected Poems of Ahmad Shamlu (Contra Mundum Press, 2015). Known for his voice of resilient defiance and political dissent, Shamlu is one of the most prominent literary figures in twentieth century Iran, evidenced by his nomination for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1984. While previous translations of Shamlu’s work have been limited in scope, leaving his poetry relatively unknown in the English-speaking world, Born upon the Dark Spear showcases 78 poems from throughout his career, honoring his use of poetry to respond to the political tyranny and social upheaval he observed in his country.

Mohaghegh’s translation is noteworthy both for its groundbreaking collection of poems, and its exceptional quality. Born upon the Dark Spear expertly captures the tone and spirit of Shamlu’s poetry, enabling readers to engage with it as an ever-relevant commentary on inequality, oppression and indifference.

Nastaran Kherad

Nastaran Kherad’s translation of The Neighbors (Austin, TX: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 2013), by Ahmad Mahmoud, tells the story of a young man whose involvement in Iran’s oil industry in the 1950s leads him to discover that the world is bigger than the poverty surrounding him.

Janet Afary & John R. Perry

Charand-o Parand: Revolutionary Satire from Iran, 1907-1909 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016), translated by Janet Afary and John R. Perry, gives a new audience access to the essays and newspaper columns of Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, which entertain as they offer a critical evaluation of Iran’s old political order.

Geoffrey Squires

For his volume entitled Hafez: Translations and Interpretations of the Ghazals (Miami Univ. Press). In this volume Squires, who is an accomplished Irish poet and lived in Iran for three years, captures the energy and depth of the iconic poet Hafez in contemporary English without archaisms or a predetermined interpretation. It displays a supple and at times even exhilarating handling of language and form.

Dick Davis

For his translation of Vis and Ramin, an ancient Persian epic composed by the poet Fakhraddin Gorgani. The Prize was announced by AIIS President Franklin Lewis in August 2012 at a conference of the International Society of Iranian Studies in Istanbul. No winner has been announced yet for 2013. Davis is Chair of of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University

Sholeh Wolpe

For her translation of Sin: Selected Poems of Forough Farrokhzad (Univ of Arkansas Press 2008, preface by Alicia Ostriker). Frank Lewis, the president of the American Institute for Iranian Studies, notes that this musical and compelling version draws the reader along and catches the exquisite balance and pacing of the poet’s language; he hopes that this translation will help Farrokhzad claim her rightful place in the international canon. Wolpe is an Iranian-American poet, literary translator and visual artist; see her website at

Mohammad Ghanooparvar

For his book entitled Translating the Garden (Univ of Texas Press), coupling the difficult work of Shahrokh Meskoob (Dialogue in the Garden) with a companion essay on translation.

Jawid Mojadeddi

For his translation of the first volume of the Masnavi, by Jalal al-Din Rumi. Oxford’s Mojadeddi brings scholarly rigor to this translation of the first of six volumes by a classic poet who has not always been well served by translators.

Jerry Clinton

For his translation of the Rostam and Esfandyar episodes of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic. It has been called “clearly the finest English verse translation of Ferdowsi in existence.”

*The Prix Coindreau Prize, The Jeanne Varnay Pleasants Prize for Language Teaching, and the CASVA-Henry & Judith Millon Award are currently inactive.