Freshman Connections


Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi

Background Information

Information below is adapted from a variety of sources. Follow the links to learn more!

“In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weigh tloss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one couple melting pot.

In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).”

Other Texts and Awards

Funny in Farsi
has been on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times. Author Firoozeh Dumas was nominated for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, the first Iranian author to be nominated. She was nominated for the PEN/USA Award in Creative Nonfiction and she received the Spirit of America Award in 2008 from the National Council of Social Studies. Dumas has written pieces for the NY Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

If you enjoyed reading Funny in Farsi, Dumas’s has a second book, Laughing Without an Accent, a series of autobiographical essays, published by Random House, 2008.

Learn More About Firoozeh Dumas at

Biographical information provided by Random House and Peg Shaffer.

Firoozeh Dumas will be on campus on September 22nd and will present at 7:30pm in Emens Auditorium.

Freshman Connections
Melinda M. Messineo<br>Department of Sociology
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana 47306

Phone: 765-285-5530
Fax: 765-285-5920
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