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Monday, 5 June, 2000, 22:29 GMT 23:29 UK
Leading Iranian author dies
Iranian women walk past election posters
Golshiri campaigned to promote democracy in Iran
By Iranian affairs analyst Sadeq Saba

A prominent Iranian novelist and writer, Hushang Golshiri, has died in hospital in Tehran at the age of 63.

Mr Golshiri, who is widely regarded as Iran's greatest contemporary novelist, had been suffering a series of illnesses.

He wrote his first collection of short stories in the late 1960s.

His most famous novel, "Prince Ehtejab", was published in 1969 and critics have hailed it as one of the best contemporary literary works in Iran.

Iranian aristocracy

Golshiri was one of the first Iranian writers to apply modern literary techniques in his book to depict the demise of the Iranian aristocracy.

Later the novel was turned into a successful film.

In his other novels and short stories, Golshiri also focused on social and political issues.

His short stories have been translated into English and other European languages.

Censorship

In his last visit to Britain in October, he told the BBC Persian Service that he had been trying to understand the complexities of human beings in his works.

Golshiri was also a prominent campaigner for the freedom of expression in Iran.

He was active in organising Iranian writers to fight censorship imposed by both the former regime of the Shah and the Islamic government.

He was interrogated a number of times by the Islamic authorities for his efforts to found an organisation of the Iranian writers.

Human rights

His eloquent and moving speech two years ago at the graveside of two dissident Iranian writers who were killed by the Iranian security agents is regarded as one of the most defiant statements by a secular Iranian writer.

His other works include "The First Innocent", " A man With a Red Tie" and "The Book of Jinn", which was published abroad last year.

He was awarded Germany's Erich Maria Remarque prize last year for what was described as his constant efforts to fight oppression and to promote democracy and human rights values.

But despite the fact that Golshiri was living at a time that his home country was going through political turmoil and he became unwillingly involved in politics, his main concern in his works remained the conditions of man.

Hushang Golshiri will be remembered as a brave intellectual, a talented writer and a genuine artist.

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