WaterFire Symposium: Reading with Marjan Kamali

february, 2020

12feb6:30 pm8:30 pmFeaturedWaterFire Symposium: Reading with Marjan KamaliPresented by Symposium Books & WaterFire Providence6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EST WaterFire Arts Center

Event Details

Join us for our second WaterFire Symposium with writer Marjan Kamali who will be reading from her widely acclaimed novel, “The Stationary Shop”.


From the award winning author of Together Tea, Marjan Kamali comes THE STATIONERY SHOP, a moving and beautifully written novel about first love and the quirks of fate, set in the midst of the 1953 Iranian coup d’état.

Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager who finds a literary oasis in Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. Amidst the political upheaval in Tehran, she finds a safe haven in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.

With a keen instinct for a budding romance, Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—the handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry. As their romance blossoms with every dinner in the chic cafes of Tehran, dancing at tango parties in a time of social liberation, and participating in electrifying political rallies, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite, secret place.

On the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts— a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future—and in the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless, and with a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.


Marjan Kamali, born in Turkey to Iranian parents, spent her childhood in Kenya, Germany, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Columbia University, and New York University. Her work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in two anthologies. The Stationery Shop was one of NPR.org’s Favorite Books of 2019, Newsweek’s 30 Best Summer Books, a Real Simple magazine Top Editor’s Pick, an Indie Next Pick, and an excerpt was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her debut novel Together Tea was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, an NPR WBUR Good Read, and a Target Emerging Author Selection. Marjan lives with her husband and two children in the Boston area.


“[A] moving tale of lost love…” – Wall Street Journal

“Kamali paints an evocative portrait of 1950s Iran and its political upheaval, and she cleverly writes the heartbreak of Roya and Bahman’s romance to mirror the tragic recent history of their country. Simultaneously briskly paced and deeply moving, this will appeal to fans of Khaled Hosseini and should find a wide audience.” – Booklist

“The unfurling stories in Kamali’s sophomore novel will stun readers as the aromas of Persian cooking wafting throughout convince us that love can last a lifetime. For those who enjoy getting caught up in romance while discovering unfamiliar history of another country.” Library Journal 



The WaterFire Symposium is a series of public lectures, readings and conversations about vital and timely issues from the arts to the sciences, from history to the climate crisis. WaterFire’s mission is to inspire our community. Bringing us all together in cordial discussion about the issues impacting our community helps us better understand the issues of the day. In an era where complex issues become reduced to silly slogans, a forum for learning, understanding, and dialog is critical to the democratic process.

WaterFire is pleased to partner with Symposium Books to host and co-curate this series of public dialogues that are presented for free and are open to all.



The views and opinions expressed by speakers/presenters at the WaterFire Arts Center are those of the speakers/authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of WaterFire Providence or any of our partners, sponsors, or supporters.





(Wednesday) 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EST


WaterFire Arts Center

475 Valley Street


Symposium BooksFull service independent bookstore and record shop!) in the heart of Providence, Symposium Books has something for everyone's needs. In 2017, Symposium Books started to curate a collection of books from art, science, best sellers, childrens books and more at the WaterFire Arts Center Store.customerservice@symposiumbooks.com

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