Psychiatrist and writer Forugh Karimi wins literary debut prize

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The book The Mothers of Mahipar, written by Forugh Karimi, has been declared the winner of the Hebban Debut Prize 2023.

Karimi was delighted. “This is such an amazing thing to experience!” she wrote on LinkedIn. ‘My novel deals with different themes and has several layers, as literature should be. Yet the first thing that comes to mind is that one aspect: the strength and courage of Afghan women. I hope that with this great recognition for The Mothers of Mahipar, the suppressed voice of Afghan women will be heard a little more. That will be a comfort to the deep powerlessness that regularly takes over me when I think about my native country.’

The Mothers of Mahipar appeared in the spring of 2022. In Medical Contact, the Afghan-Dutch psychiatrist told about the backgrounds of this book, how she came to the Netherlands, studied medicine and why she had to write this story down. ‘It has long bothered me that little has been written about the war in Afghanistan in novels. In my book I describe what it was like when the Russians came and when other countries came. Many people don’t know about the mass graves.’

Language in medicine

The Hebban Debuutprijs is an initiative of book site Hebban for the best literary debut of the past year, intended as an ‘encouragement prize’. Karimi received the prize and a check for 2500 euros last weekend at the Debutantenbal in SociĆ«teit De Kring in Amsterdam. At the end of June, Karimi was one of the main speakers at the MC conference on the power of language in medicine, where she spoke about ‘News Dutch: doctoring in a second language’.

Last Sunday, Karimi, who works in Den Bosch, published the novella Nargis on the occasion of the Brabant literary festival Boeken in de Wei. Nargis is the so-called Brabant Book Present. Anyone who buys a book in a Brabant bookstore until September 10 will receive it as a gift. A public edition of this novella will be published in December.

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