First Book: My Name is Iran

In 2007, Ardalan also wrote My Name Is Iran: A century of family tales from two beloved but divided homelands, Iran and America Drawing on her remarkable personal history, NPR producer Davar Ardalan brings us the lives of three generations of women and their ordeals with love, rejection, and revolution. Her American grandmother's love affair with an Iranian physician took her from New York to Iran in 1931. Ardalan herself moved from San Francsico to rural Iran in 1964 with her Iranian American parents who barely spoke Farsi. After her parents' divorce, Ardalan joined her father in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he had gone to make a new life; however improbably, after high school, Ardalan decided to move back to an Islamic Iran. When she arrived, she discovered a world she hardly recognized, and one which demands a near-complete renunciation of the freedoms she experienced in the West. In time, she and her young family make the opposite migration and discover the difficulties, however paradoxical, inherent in living a free life in America.



Drawing on everything from Ralph Waldo Emerson's odes to his beloved Persian poets to Pierre Omidyar's founding of eBay, The Persian Square culls together stunning images and sharp storytelling, weaving a modern, multimedia tapestry of Iranian American history over the centuries.


Until fairly recently, Iranian Americans have been one of the country's quietest minorities. Their presence has animated great cities like Los Angeles and their traditions – from the transcendent poetry of Rumi, to aromatic kabobs to the Persian New Year celebration of the vernal equinox – have seeped into mainstream American experience.


But even a decade ago, Iranian Americans' civic voice was a whisper, and their coming of age story as immigrants to America a tale told in living rooms rather than documentaries and coffee table books. All that is gradually changing today, with multiple generations of Iranian Americans becoming highly visible players at the forefront of virtually every field in America today. The Persian Square offers a vivid portrait of Iranian Americans at this moment, exploring the early intersections between the two countries' citizens, and the unexpected places where American and Iranian tradition have embraced one another.


NPR Senior Producer, Iran Davar Ardalan's storytelling draws on her family origins, interweaving her grandparents' first meeting in New York and her parents' migrations in an intimate but historically grounded telling of how America and Iran came together both in her life, and in the world. The result is a deeply personal portrait of her community, whose confidence and accomplishments grows by the day.


The Editor-at-Large of The Persian Square is journalist and author Azadeh Moaveni. This book includes historic documents, handwritten letters, archival photos from Iran and over 30 media files including, music, videos and several audio recordings from 1912, 1915, and 1924 used with permission from Sony Music. The book contained links to NPR stories from 1995-2012 with permission from NPR. 


The Persian Square


• Sound recordings include music, interviews

• Explore beyond the book to NPR stories

• Historical documents from 1800s-1950s

• Stunning photographs from Iran


Iranian American Contributors:

• Author and Executive Producer:

 Iran Davar Ardalan

• Editor-at-Large: Azadeh Moaveni

• Editorial and Production Assistants:

Courtney Hartnett, Lauren Rock

• Social Media Research:  Cyrus Abrahim

• Technical Advisor:  Karim Ardalan


Media Requests


Check out NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin

Multimedia Journey Through ‘The Persian Square



Share Your Story

If you would like to share your personal story with The Persian Square, please email a 300 word description to: You can also share your story by using the hashtag #PersianSquare on Twitter. Please note, not all submissions will end up as facts or entries in The Persian Square.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • 1.Where can I purchase The Persian Square?


    The book is available for purchase from the iBookstore beginning on March 4, 2013. You will be able to read and interact with The Persian Square on an iPad.


  • 2. Can I share my family story?


    Yes. If you have a compelling story, you can submit it for consideration. Email your 300 word story description to: You can also share your story by using the hashtag #PersianSquare on Twitter. Please note, not all submissions will end up as facts or entries in The Persian Square.


  • 3. Why is this book only available on an iPad?


    We live in an era where the architecture of publishing has been shattered. I have always been interested in interactive storytelling and I strongly believe that multimedia is the wave of the future when it comes to books. As such, I am experimenting and diving into the multitouch publishing terrority. I am excited to see where it takes us.

Media Downloads


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