StoriesSara Farizan ’10

MFA in Creative Writing Alum Finds Her Voice

Sara slipped through high school hiding a huge secret, all the while feeling stories bubbling up from inside her chest.

sara farizan

Sara Farizan was born in the United States to Iranian parents. As a teenager in an American high school, she was proud of her Iranian heritage and let people know it. But behind her pride in her heritage, she felt angry and unhappy that she couldn’t talk to anyone about her attraction to girls. The subject is taboo in the Persian community.

Writing became Sara’s salvation. In the Creative Writing MFA program at Lesley, she came up with the idea of writing a Young Adult novel about two girls desperately in love, set in Tehran, Iran—a very dangerous place to be gay. Sara infuses the story with the conflict and passion she felt as a teenager. The novel, If You Could Be Mine, was published in August 2013 and has been profiled in numerous reviews, including the New York Times Sunday Book Review and on National Public Radio, and won two Triangle Awards and a Lambda Literary Award.

Sara was more interested in writing a captivating story than she was with making a political statement about either Iranian or gay people. But she’s gratified that “in some small way the book confronts those stereotypes.” Ultimately, she sees the novel as a story about identity, “about how you see yourself in the world.”