Omar Khayyam was a Persian polymath, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and poet. In the field of mathematics, he is best known for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations. As an astronomer, he designed a solar calendar known as the Jalali calendar. His philosophical attitude towards life had elements of pessimism, nihilism, Epicureanism, and fatalism.
Hafez was a Persian lyric poet whose works are considered by many as an apex of Persian literature. Even today, his works are found in the homes of the Persian-speaking world and people learn his poems by heart as they find them extremely useful. Not surprisingly, his poems are used commonly among speakers of Persian as everyday proverbs and sayings.
Abbas Kiarostami was an Iranian screenwriter, film director, film producer, photographer, and poet. Over the course of his illustrious career, Kiarostami was honored with numerous awards such as the Jury Special Award at the Tehran International Film Festival and Best Film Award at the Iranian Film Festival for Children and Young Adults.
Shams Tabrizi was a Persian poet best remembered for playing an important role in the life of the popular poet and scholar, Rumi. Having served as a spiritual instructor of Rumi, Tabrizi is referenced with reverence in many of Rumi's poetic collection. An important historical figure in Iran, Tabrizi's tomb has been nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Eighth-century alchemist and physician Jabir Ibn Hayyan has been credited with too many written works. Experts believe his vast works may not have been written by a single person. The Jabirian corpus, a collection of his works, is known for its "method of the balance" and its focus on chemistry.
Ismail I was the originator of the Safavid dynasty and ruled as the Shahanshah of Iran from 1501 to 1524. His reign is considered one of the most vital in Iranian history and his empire is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of Iran and one of the most powerful empires of the world during its peak.
Saadi Shirazi was a Persian prose writer and poet of the medieval period. He is often counted among the greatest poets who explored the classical literary tradition. Nicknamed the Master, Shirazi has also been quoted in the Western traditions. One of his best known works Bustan has been named by The Guardian in its 100 greatest books of all-time list.
Ferdowsi was a Persian writer and poet best remembered for authoring Shahnameh which is considered the greatest epic in Persian speaking countries. Shahnameh is also one of the longest epic poems ever composed by a single poet. One of the most celebrated figures of Persian literature, Ferdowsi is also counted among the greatest in the history of literature. .
Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer, TV host, and scholar of sociology of religion. A multi-talented personality, Aslan also serves as a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Over the course of his career, Reza Aslan has been honored with several prestigious awards including the East-West Media Award in 2012 and the Media Bridge-Builder Award in 2013.
Cassandra Clare is an American writer best known for authoring a series of six young adult fantasy novels titled The Mortal Instruments. A highly acclaimed author, Cassandra Clare has won several awards including a couple of Georgia Peach Book Awards.
Nizami Ganjavi was a Persian Sunni Muslim poet. Widely regarded as the greatest romantic epic poet of all time in Persian literature, Ganjavi is credited with bringing a realistic and colloquial style to the Persian epic. Ganjavi's works has had huge impact in many places around the world including India where his style was imitated by many poets like Hatefi.
Nizam al-Mulk was a Persian political philosopher, scholar, and vizier of the Great Seljuk Empire. Nizam rose to the position of the de facto ruler from humble beginnings. He is perhaps best remembered for founding several important institutions known as madrasa in cities across the Seljuk Empire. Nizam al-Mulk is also credited with writing an important political treatise called Siyasatnama.
Tahmasp I ruled as the Shah of Safavid Iran from 23 May 1524 to 25 May 1576. At the age of 14, Tahmasp faced the Uzbeks in the Battle of Jam where he defeated the Uzbeks after surprising them with artillery. Tahmasp I also had a longstanding conflict with the Ottoman Empire over Baghdad, Kurdistan, and Georgia.
Mohammad Khatami is an Iranian politician who served as the President of Iran from 1997 to 2005. A respected and influential politician, Khatami advocated tolerance, freedom of expression, and civil society during his presidency. He also served as the Minister of Culture of Iran from 1982 to 1992.
Sadegh Hedayat was an Iranian translator and writer best remembered for his book The Blind Owl, which inspired the 1987 French film La Chouette aveugle. Hedayat was one of the earliest writers from Iran to make literary modernism an important aspect of his work and career. Sadegh Hedayat's life and career have inspired several documentary films like From No. 37.
Al-Hallaj was a Persian poet, mystic, and teacher of Sufism. An influential preacher, Al-Hallaj gained a wide following before entering into a conflict with the Abbasid court, which had him executed on religious and political charges on 26 March 922. Although he was criticized by many of his Sufi contemporaries, Al-Hallaj later became an important figure in the Sufi tradition.
Fereydoon Batmanghelidj was an Iranian doctor and writer who promoted the belief that increased water consumption is the cure for most diseases. He graduated from St Mary's Hospital Medical School of London University and practiced medicine in UK before returning to Iran. He helped in the development of hospitals and medical centers and became a wealthy entrepreneur.
Azar Nafisi is an Iranian-American writer and professor. She was born in Iran and later moved to the US, where she received her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. She returned to Iran to pursue an academic career, eventually going back to the US after some years. She is the author of several critically acclaimed books.
Sanai was a Persian poet whose magnum opus The Walled Garden of Truth is considered the first mystical epic of Sufism in the Persian language. The book expresses Sanai's ideas on God, philosophy, love, and reason. His poetry had a major influence on Persian literature. Sanai’s work also inspired several celebrated poets like Rumi.
Nāṣer-e Khusraw was a Persian poet, Isma'ili scholar, philosopher, and traveler. He was also widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the history of Persian literature. Among his most famous works is the Safarnama, which is widely read even today in Iran.
Sohrab Sepehri was an Iranian poet and painter. He is counted amongst the five most famous Iranian poets who have practiced modern poetry. His poems have been translated into several languages, including English, Italian, French, Spanish, and Lithuanian. He is also considered one of Iran's foremost modernist painters and is known for developing a new technique called texture.
Ahmad Shamlu was an Iranian poet, journalist, and writer. Widely regarded as one of the most influential poets of modern Iran, Shamlou is often counted among the pioneers of modern Persian poetry. Along with Nima, Shamlu has had the greatest influence on Iranian poets of his generation. Ahmad Shamlu is a recipient of prestigious awards like the Stig Dagerman Prize.
Morteza Motahhari was an Iranian Twelver Shia philosopher, scholar, and lecturer. A co-founder of the Combatant Clergy Association and Hosseiniye Ershad, Motahhari had a prominent influence on the principles of the Islamic Republic. Morteza Motahhari wrote more than 50 books that dealt with philosophy and theology. In 1965, he was honored with the UNESCO Award.
Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush, a former professor of the University of Tehran and the Imam Khomeini International University, has also taught at top-notch institutes such as Harvard and Princeton. Named to Time 100, he believes in a reformist version of Islam, with its core values intact.
Forough Farrokhzad was an Iranian poet and film director. Her strong feminist voice earned her much acclaim and also brought about much criticism. She was both a popular and controversial figure. Her works were banned for more than a decade after the Islamic Revolution. In more recent years, she has become Iran's most revered female poet.
Safi-ad-din Ardabili was a poet, teacher, mystic, and Sufi master. The spiritual heir of Zahed Gilani, Safi is credited with reforming the former's Sufi Order Zahediyeh and renaming it Safaviyya. He then led the Safavid order from 1301 to 1334. Safaviyya was the foundation of the famous Safavid dynasty, which reigned over Iran from 1501 to 1736.
Simin Daneshvar was an Iranian novelist, academic, translator, and fiction writer. In 1948, she became the first Iranian woman to have a collection of Persian short stories published. Simin Daneshvar also became the first Iranian woman to publish a novel when her work Savushun released in 1966; Savushun went on to become a bestseller.
Magtymguly Pyragy was a Turkmen spiritual leader, philosophical poet, and Sufi. He was a wide traveler who had traveled through the territories of present-day Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. He worked as a silversmith to make a living and wrote poetry in his leisure time. He is considered to be the most famous figure in Turkmen literary history.
Simin Behbahani was a prominent Iranian lyricist, contemporary poet, and activist. An icon of present-day Persian poetry, Behbahani was twice nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature. Simin Behbahani also received other prominent awards such as the Janus Pannonius Poetry Prize and Carl von Ossietzky Medal.
One of the best-known authors of Iran from the 20th century, Muhammad ʿAli Jamalzadah was born to a Muslim cleric and had initially studied law in France. He also taught Persian and was associated with the ILO, but is best remembered for his Persian short stories.
Baba Tahir was an 11th-century Persian dervish poet from Hamadan, Iran. He was a mysterious figure known to lead a very spiritual and stoic lifestyle. A woodcutter by occupation, he composed poetry in the Hamadani dialect of the Persian language. It is believed that he was a contemporary of the poet Ferdowsi and polymath Avicenna.
Mohammad-Taqi Bahar was a renowned Iranian scholar, poet, historian, journalist, politician, and Professor of Literature. Counted among the most influential cultural icons of modern Iran, Bahar had a strong impact on the progression of modern Persian poetry and literature through his literary magazine Majaleh-ye Dāneshkadeh. Bahar is also known as the father of another great historian and mythologist Mehrdad Bahar.
Saib Tabrizi was a Persian poet considered to be one of the greatest masters of a form of classical Arabic and Persian lyric poetry known as the ghazal. He composed primarily in Persian and also wrote a few ghazals and molammas in Azerbaijani Turkic. Shah Abbas II, the emperor of Persia, bestowed upon him the title King of Poets.
Bozorg Alavi was an Iranian writer, novelist, and political intellectual. In 1941, he became a founding member of the communist Tudeh Party of Iran. The party proved to be influential in its initial years. After the 1953 coup against Premier Mohammad Mossadegh, Alavi went into exile and spent the rest of his life in East Germany.
Khosrow Sinai was an Iranian poet, composer, film director, screenwriter, and scholar. The first Iranian filmmaker to receive an international prize after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Khosrow Sinai is best remembered for his celebrated film Bride of Fire, which won numerous awards in both international and domestic film festivals.
Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi was a Persian Sufi master, writer, and poet. He is best remembered for authoring a collection of lyric poetry. Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi’s best known work Lama’at or Divine Flashes has been translated into Swedish, French, and English.
Houshang Golshiri was an Iranian writer, editor, and critic. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most important writers of Persian prose, Golshiri was also one of the earliest writers from Iran to use modern literary techniques. Some of Houshang Golshiri's works like Prince Ehtejab and First Innocent have been adapted into films.
Anvari was a Persian poet and astronomer. He studied science and literature at the collegiate institute in Toon and was a well-educated man. He mainly wrote panegyrics, eulogies, and satires, which were eventually collected in a Deewan. The Cambridge History of Iran has called him "one of the greatest figures in Persian literature."
Badi' al-Zaman al-Hamadani was an Arab man of letters. He is best remembered for his collection of 52 episodic stories called Maqamat Badi' az-Zaman al-Hamadhani, which follow a rogue named Abu al-Fath al-Iskandari. He is also credited with inventing a literary genre called maqama.
Sadeq Chubak was an Iranian author whose literary works, especially novels, contemplate the dark side of society. In his novels, he often studied the lives of the downtrodden who are victimized by natural deterministic forces and iniquities. Sadeq Chubak is widely regarded as the best naturalist writer in Persian literature.
Mahmoud Shabestari was a Persian Sufi poet whose works made him one of the most celebrated and decorated poets of the 14th century. Among his most important works is a mystic text named The Secret Rose Garden which was written about 1311.
Fariborz Raisdana was an Iranian economist, socialist, and activist. He was also a professor and a member of the Iranian Writers' Association. After graduating from The London School of Economics, he embarked on an academic career. He criticized the Iranian subsidy reform plan in an interview with BBC Persian and was arrested because of this.
Al-Sharif al-Jurjani was a Persian traditionalist theologian and encyclopedic writer. He is credited with authoring over 50 books, 31 of which are extant. One of his best-known works, Al Taʿrīfāt, contains about 2100 definitions of Arabic terms in a glossary style. The book was edited by G Flügel and published in Cairo and St Petersburg in 1866 and 1897 respectively.
Daqiqi was a prominent Persian poet of the Samanid era. He was most likely born into a family of Iranian landowners and grew up in an era that saw much growth in literature, especially poetry. A famous figure in the literary scene, he worked at the Samanid court under the Samanid ruler (amir) Mansur I.
Kamal Khujandi was a Persian ghazal and Sufi poet who flourished during the 14th century. Regarded as one of the 14th century's great romantic poets, Khujandi played an influential role in Persian poetry. In 1996, a museum and monument were erected in Tajikistan to honor the great poet.