About the author

Shokoofeh Azar

About the book

Judges' report

Shokoofeh Azar’s The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is a unique and profoundly moving novel, translated from Farsi by Adrien Kijek. Set in Iran, the story is narrated by thirteen-year-old Bahar as she follows the fortunes of her family in the violent aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The novel presents a richly woven magical reality: Bahar’s mother attains enlightenment atop a greengage tree at the moment her son is executed; the ghosts of five thousand prisoners march down the streets of Tehran, preceded by a river of their own tears; and a fictional Ayatollah Khomeini finds himself lost underground in his own labyrinthine palace of mirrors. Drawing on techniques of classic Persian literature, and recalling aspects of South American magic realism, Azar powerfully juxtaposes the beauty of Persian culture and mythology with the brutality of a political regime responsible for the destruction of so many lives. The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is a stunning meditation on grief and loss in the life of a family and a society by an extraordinary Australian writer.

Further reading


‘The writing is ravishing: shimmeringly poet­ic. Even as the story progresses and the mood darkens, the narrator’s meticulous descriptions of the flowers, birds, animals and landscapes around her hold beauty as close as a talisman.’ Miriam Cosic, The Australian

‘The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is ultimately a philosophical celebration of life that persists in the face of confused national identity, desperate personal anguish, and unimaginable brutality. With her nuanced understanding of the dichotomies that drive the human condition, Azar positions herself as a literary talent to watch.’ Anika Baset, Right Now

‘With all the beauty and the horror, the supernatural and the realistic, the love and the hatred, if ever there was a book that needs to be read more than once, this is it.’ Erich Mayer, ArtsHub


Listen to Shookofeh discuss The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree on ABC’s Nightlife.

Learn more about Shokoofeh’s experiences and how they informed The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree in The Sydney Morning Herald

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