Acquisition: A Girl Called Rumi

Forest Avenue Press has acquired world English rights to A GIRL CALLED RUMI, the #ownvoices debut novel by Ari Honarvar, forthcoming in September 2021. 

Kimia, a successful life coach, has made a career of running away from her past and living in the present moment. When her mother, who suffers from PTSD, wants to return to Iran to die, Kimia attempts to change her mind. Before she has a chance, though, Kimia collides with a mysterious bird who knocks her to the ground and releases a flood of memories. She begins reliving her life as a nine-year-old girl in war-torn Iran, including her friendship with a mystical storyteller who led her through the mythic “Seven Valleys of Love.” Haunted by her memories, Kimia decides to accompany her mother back to Iran, only to arrive in the midst of the Green Uprising in the streets. Against the backdrop of the election protests, Kimia begins to unravel the secrets of the night that broke her mother and produced the dangerous enemy now ready to take his revenge. She must choose between escaping or completing her unfinished journey through the Valley of Death to save her brother.

A GIRL CALLED RUMI earned raves from Forest Avenue’s committee of readers and was chosen as one of two manuscripts in our most competitive submissions period to-date. 

Forest Ave reader Nancy Townsley shared this about the manuscript: “A tenor’s voice filling the air with a single note. A flock of birds holding a baby aloft, and a mythical queen-bird falling in love with the baby and carrying it off to her nest. A storyteller whose message causes even children to fall silent. Also, the Hafez and Rumi poetry! And the writing is SO smart and relevant. ‘Baba, if they don’t hate us, then why do they bomb us?’ I’m in love with this one!”

Internationally acclaimed author Sahar Delijani said, “From the horrors of Iran-Iraq war to the complex reality of modern-day Iran, this is a novel that is as mesmerizing and dynamic as the Persian poetry it carries.”

Ari Honarvar is the founder of Rumi With A View, dedicated to building music and poetry bridges across war-torn and conflict-ridden borders. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is the author of the oracle card set and book, Rumi’s Gift.

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