Biographical Highlights & Chronology

Birth: July 20, 1927 - Tehran, Iran

Given Name: Siminbar Khalili

Father: Abbas Khalili (1893–1971)

Mother: Fakhr-e Ozma Arghun (1898–1966) 

First husband: Hassan Behbahani, divorced, three children

Second husband: Manuchehr Koushyar

Nationality: Iranian

Education: B.A., Legal Studies, University of Tehran


Simin Behbahani (born July 20, 1927, Tehran, Iran) is one of the most prominent figures of the modern Persian literature and one of the most outstanding amongst the contemporary Persian poets. She is Iran's national poet and an icon of the Iranian intelligentsia and literati, who affectionately refer to her as the lioness of Iran. She has been nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature, and has received many literary accolades around the world.

Simin Behbahani, whose real name is Simin Khalili, is the daughter of Abbās Khalili, poet, writer and Editor of the Eghdam (Action) newspaper and Fakhr-e Ozma Arghun, poet and teacher of the French language. Abbas Khalili (1893–1971) wrote poetry in both Persian and Arabic and translated some 1100 verses of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh into Arabic. Fakhr-e Ozma Arghun (1898–1966) was one of the progressive women of her time and a member of Kanun-e Nesvan-e Vatan'khah (Association of Patriotic Women) between 1925 and 1929. In addition to her membership in Hezb-e Democrat (Democratic Party) and Kanun-e Zanan (Women's Association), she was for a time (1932) Editor of the Ayandeh-ye Iran (Future of Iran) newspaper. She taught French at the secondary schools Nāmus, Dar ol-Mo'allemat and No'bavegan in Tehran.

Awards and Recognition

  • 2011 - Farhang Foundation Heritage Award
  • 2009 - mtvU Poet Laureate
  • 2008 - Stanford's Bita Prize for Literature and Freedom[Award Photo]
  • 2008 - Association of Professors & Scholars of Iranian Heritage, Distinguished Scholar Award - [Award photo]
  • 2007 - Norwegian Authors' Union Freedom of Expression Prize
  • 2006 - Nomination for Nobel Prize in Literature
  • 2004 - Latifeh Yarshater Book Award
  • 1999 - Carl von Ossietzky Human Rights Award / Medal
  • 1998 - Human Rights Watch / Hellman-Hammet Grant
  • 1997 - Nomination for Nobel Prize in Literature