Amir Ahmadi Arian’s Then the Fish Swallowed Him is a powerful and harrowing psychological portrait of living through the despotism of modern-day Iran. Writer Joyce Carol Oates hails Amir’s American debut as “sharply observed, painfully intimate and illuminating”. The New York–based author – who left Iran in 2011, completed a PhD in Brisbane and has translated novels by Paul Auster and Cormac McCarthy into Farsi – talks with Omid Tofighian about a novel that exposes the corrosive power of the state to bend individual lives.

Amir Ahmadi Arian (International)

Amir Ahmadi Arian

Amir Ahmadi Arian is a critically acclaimed Iranian author. His English language literary debut is Then the Fish Swallowed Him. Starting out as a journalist in Iran in 2000, Amir left his home country in 2011 to complete a PhD in comparative literature at the University of Queensland. He has since published a collection of stories, a non-fiction book and two novels in Persian. His English short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Guardian UK and other publications. Amir has also translated novels by E. L. Doctorow, Paul Auster, P. D. James and Cormac McCarthy from English to Farsi. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in the NYU Creative Writing Program as The Axinn Foundation/E. L. Doctorow Fellowship recipient. Amir teaches literature and creative writing at CUNY City College and currently lives in New York.

Omid Tofighian (Australian)

Omid Tofighian

Dr Omid Tofighian is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination. He is Adjunct Lecturer at the School of the Arts and Media, UNSW; Honorary Research Associate for the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney; faculty at Iran Academia; and campaign manager for 'Why Is My Curriculum White? – Australasia'. His published works include Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues; he is the translator of Behouz Boochani's multi-award-winning book No Friend But the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison; and co-editor of Refugee Filmmaking, Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media.