Persia Blues wins 2014 SPACE prize for Best Graphic Novel

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I’m thrilled to announce that Persia Blues, my graphic novel with artist Brent Bowman, has won the 2014 SPACE Prize in the graphic novel category!

As in previous years, the winners were picked by two rotating judges and the registered SPACE 2014 exhibitors themselves. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the winners in the other categories, as well as all the nominees.

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This book has been a true labor of love for me, and Brent and I have poured a lot of our time and energy into its creation. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, in creating Persia Blues, I wanted to showcase a little of Iran’s rich culture, from cuisine to architecture to literature, and also give readers a sense of its thousands of years of history and tradition. But more importantly, I wanted to tell a very human story, featuring a smart, capable, complex protagonist.

We will have an art display at this year’s S.P.A.C.E., showcasing original art from the upcoming vol. 2 of the book. The show takes place in Columbus, Ohio on April 11 & 12, 2015.

Now coming up on its 16th year, S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) is the Midwest’s longest running exhibition of small press, creator owned, and art comics. It’s also Columbus’ only locally owned and operated comics show. Sponsored by Back Porch Comics.

Persia Blues: “Here and Now” flash fiction

When I did the Kickstarter campaign for volume 1 of Persia Blues, one of the reward levels was an original piece of flash fiction by me, handwritten inside the published book. When all was said and done, 11 people earned the reward.

Interesting factoid: in today’s world of technology, where we’re used to typing the vast majority of our correspondences, it’s a bit of a shock when you hand write a 300 word story 11 times and realize there are muscles in your hand you haven’t exercised in that capacity in a long, long time.

Anyway, I wanted to share the story with the rest of you out there. It’s about our lead protagonist, Minoo Shirazi, a young Iranian woman living in Shiraz.

Art by Brent Bowman

Art by Brent Bowman

“Here and Now”

by Dara Naraghi

Minoo placed a sugar cube between her lips and sipped her tea through it, savoring the aroma wafting off the hot beverage. The coffee house was packed, mostly with her fellow university students. The venue advertised its free wifi and homemade fresh pastries, but the younger crowd mainly came to socialize with the opposite sex, in the relatively private atmosphere of the shop, away from the prying eyes of the morality police.

Her laptop screen was lit up with multiple windows – news sites from outside Iran, her favorite gaming cheat site, an online political forum – but Minoo’s attention was focused elsewhere. A group of four young men sat a few tables away, drinking tea, smoking a hookah, and discussing the latest trends in structural design. She knew the oldest one, Reza. He was an architectural student, like her.

And she had quite the crush on him.

Not that she could do anything about it. Not under the strict Islamic laws governing public behavior. And not with an overprotective father at home.

But today, none of that mattered. True, her life was what it was, with all its unfairness and limitations. But she had decided that morning, rather uncharacteristically, to try and focus on the positive. On the here-and-now.

And so, Reza, with his jet-black hair and hazel eyes, with his perfect amount of facial stubble, and his crooked, yet handsome smile…Reza was her here-and-now. She would sit in the back of the coffee shop and steal furtive glances at him, and listen to his passionate advocacy for sustainable architecture. And she would let her mind wander, and fantasize about him, and her, and what if…what if…

For today, at least, no law or tradition or morality police could take that away from her.

Persia Blues: Finalist for SPACE Prize 2014

I’m thrilled to announce that Persia Blues, my graphic novel with Brent Bowman, has been nominated for the 2014 S.P.A.C.E. Prize in the graphic novel category!

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Now coming up on it’s 16th year, S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) is the Midwest’s longest running exhibition of small press,creator owned and art comics. And Columbus’ only locally owned and operated comics show. Sponsored by Back Porch Comics.

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The winners will be picked from three voting bodies in each category: two rotating judges and the registered SPACE 2014 Exhibitors themselves. Winners will be announced at next year’s SPACE, which takes place in Columbus, Ohio on April 11 & 12, 2015.

Meet me at the Buckeye Book Fair

Next Saturday, November 2, I will be a guest of the 26th Annual Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster, Ohio (near Cleveland). I’ll be joined by my Persia Blues artist partner in crime, Brent Bowman. You can find us at table #33.

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The annual Buckeye Book Fair is a full day event featuring nearly 100 Ohio authors and illustrators who meet with readers and autograph copies of their latest works. Thousands of attendees from all over Ohio come to mingle, shop for books, and celebrate the joys of reading and writing.

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The fair runs from 9:30 – 4:00 pm, and we’ll be signing copies of Persia Blues, as well a few of my other graphic novels. Hope to see some of you there!

Persia Blues nominated for YALSA 2014 award

I’m thrilled and proud to announce that Persia Blues, my graphic novel with Brent Bowman, has been nominated for the “Great Graphic Novels for Teens – 2014” award, as presented by Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA):

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The list presents graphic novels published in the past 16 months that are recommended reading for teens aged twelve to eighteen. It is a general list of graphic novels, both fiction and nonfiction, selected for proven or potential appeal to the personal reading tastes of teens.

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The final list will be presented in January 2014. Here’s the current list of nominations. As you can see, we’re in great company, with the likes of Gilbert Hernandez, Faith Erin Hicks, Mike Carey, Nate Powell, Paul Pope, Louis Trondheim, and even Senator John Lewis. And the wonderful Margreet De Heer, a fellow author at NBM Publishing, is also nominated for her graphic novel Science: A Discovery in Comics.

Needless to say, Brent and I are humbled and ecstatic.

About YALSA:

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national association of librarians, library workers and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives, YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens.

About the ALA:

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information, news, events, and advocacy resources for members, librarians, and library users.

Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

Win a copy of Persia Blues on GoodReads.com

Are you a member on Good Reads, the social networking site for people who love books? If not, why not? And if yes, then drop on by and enter to win a copy of my latest graphic novel!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Persia Blues, Vol.1 by Dara Naraghi

Persia Blues, Vol.1

by Dara Naraghi

Giveaway ends August 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Persia Blues book is printed!

Hi folks, sorry for being incommunicado for a while. I was a bit burnt out after finishing the Persia Blues book, and then got bogged down with other life stuff. But I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, writing and blogging included.

So, the good news: volume 1 of my Persia Blues graphic novel is printed and on its way to book stores everywhere! It should be available for purchase around July 1, although you can always pre-order it through Amazon or any other book retailer.

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For those of you who supported us via Kickstarter, Brent and I are working to sign and sketch the books and get them out in the mail to you as soon as possible!

Of course, if you just can’t wait for the print edition and would like to grab a digital version, you can get it via the comiXology app or Amazon Kindle. Visit the Persia Blues store for links and details.