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Writer Of The Week: Ari Honarvar

‘I would be the love child of Lisa Simpson and Animal.’

Every once in a while as an editor, you receive an essay in your inbox that knocks the wind out of you. I will never forget receiving one such essay from Ari Honarvar.

In the aftermath of Trump’s Muslim ban, the piece reflected on immigrating from Iran to the U.S., and the striking parallels between both homes. Even in its first raw draft, the story stunned me, coupling raw, vulnerable honesty with deep wisdom and clear-eyed prose. Still to this day, I think about it often.

I’m A Refugee From A Banned Country— This Is My American Story

Since then, I’ve had the honor to work with Ari a few more times, and her work — including the nuanced “What Happened When My Travel-Ban Supporting Neighbor Met With Refugees” and revealing “Poetry Saved Me In Iran — Could It Save Us From War?” — has never lacked the potency or urgency of that first unforgettable piece.

I remain ever-ready for Ari’s next extraordinary story in my inbox…and to have the wind knocked out of me.

Below, Ari shares her thoughts on poetry icons, rice bowls, and the novel she’s working on now.

The writers that have most influenced my life are…Do poets count? Hafez, Rumi, Forough, Gibran. Also Voltaire and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The TV character I most identify with is…I would be the love child of Lisa Simpson and Animal.

I think “paying writers in exposure” is tacky.

If I could share one of my stories by yelling it into a megaphone in the middle of Times Square, it would be “What Happened When My Travel Ban-Supporting Neighbor Met With Refugees” (although megaphones aren’t my thing, so it would be a visual equivalent).

What Happened When My Travel Ban-Supporting Neighbor Met With Refugees

My 18-year-old self would feel verklempt about where I am today.

I like writing for The Establishment because it’s such a clean and professional platform and the editors are wonderful to work with. Plus they have a diverse pool of writers who they treat well.

If I could only have one type of food for the rest of my life it would be a rice bowl with veggies and avocado.

The story I’m working on now is a novel about a 9-year-old girl surviving life in war-torn Iran with the help of a mysterious storyteller.