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Kamin Mohammadi, Freelance Writer

British Writer Kamin Mohammadi

Straddling two worlds in apparent opposition can be tricky, but that’s exactly what Writer Kamin Mohammadi, 35, is doing. Born in Iran, Kamin was brought up in the culture until she moved to London at 10. Her cultural knowledge didn’t fade despite being introduced to ‘western thought’, and it’s the experience of both sides that has influenced her work and interest to the human side of a blatantly political conflict. She is currently working on a memoir – The Cypress Tree – which draws on over one hundred years of her family’s history to paint a story of Iran. But her interest to bring the two sides together goes beyond writing, as she hopes to also create an art exhibition about the Iran-Iraq war. What will the future bring for Kamin? Find out in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.


I have been writing full time now since January 2003




Kamin Mohammadi




Born in Abadan, Iran, and brought up in Tehran, Iran, then moved to London aged 10.

Current residence

London, England


London University; BA Honors in English Literature

Work Experience

My work experience is really too maverick for close inspection! I have written guide books to Portugal, Italy, Spain and Iran and have launched and edited magazines too. Now I just write, as a journalist, travel writer and of course, my current project which is a book about Iran.

My last ‘proper’ job was as Editorial Director of Conde Nast UK’s Contract Publishing Division, which I helped set up between 1999 and 2003.



Most notable milestones

The best thing that happened to me was being made redundant from my last job. It was the push I needed into full time writing, before that, I was too scared thinking I could never earn a living from it and feeling that it was more secure being an editor with a regular salary. Of course it can be a financially precarious existence, but I have learnt security is a state of mind really. You can always earn money…

What’s the niche?

I am in the privileged position of being able to understand both Iranian culture and thinking and western culture and thinking so with the current climate, I am uniquely placed to write about Iran and its culture – which feels very ‘other’ to Westerners – in a way that is accessible and easy for them to relate to.

What’s the biggest challenge?

The challenge is pitching it right. There is a fine line to tread in writing about Iran because one doesn’t want to defend an indefensible regime but at the same time, one doesn’t want to play into the hands of the ‘neo-cons’ who wish to misuse information for their own ends. These polarities are actually very unhealthy as they discourage discussion of all the interesting, complex areas in between the two extreme positions and one can easily fall into self-censorship. It is this area in the middle that I am interested in, all the messy stuff of human experience which has no neat resolution, so I try to concentrate my writing on very human stories rather than politics.

What’s in store for the future?

The book I am working on will be published early 2008. It is called The Cypress Tree and is a memoir about Iran, covering the last 100 years of our history told through the stories of my family.

I am hoping to mount some kind of art exhibition in 2008 about people’s experiences in the Iran-Iraq war, a mixture of narrative and images which will bring some of these horrific events to light.

I hope to keep writing and being a bridge of inderstanding between the two cultures I am from.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

Anyone who is interested in what I am doing or has some experience of exile, dislocation or war.

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Guiding principle in life

Be true to yourself. Of course that means first you have to know who you are and what you believe in.

Yardstick of success

Connecting with like-minded people through my work.

Goal yet to be achieved

There is so much to do. Creative life is endlessly exciting and full of possibilities.

Mostly I want to tell stories – it is the way we make sense of the world – and to help people tell their stories, in whatever form or medium that comes. I am starting work with a group of refugee women soon in London and I am looking forward to seeing how we can express their experiences in a way that helps them deal with the transition they are making.

Best practical advice

Believe in yourself, but be open to criticism and other, opposing, ideas. It is vital to have an open mind and to be willing to question everything.

Writing is a craft which has to be worked at in order to mature.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

When I was 15 my English teacher said to me ‘you were born to write’ which was a huge encouragement.

Since then I have had amazing support from both friends and family in many ways. My family have always been there with practical help when the going has got a bit tough and my friends have laughed and cried in the right places when I have shown them my writing.


No mentors at such though many people are an inspiration.

What motivated you to get started?

I have always been compelled to write and when I didn’t have the confidence to just write for a living, I worked as an editor so I was always in the same field, working with words. Eventually my confidence built up and when I left my job it was the obvious thing to do.

Like best about what you do?

That my time is my own and I don’t have to do that soul-destroying commute to an office every day. There is so much flexibility in my day-to-day life, it’s very liberating.

Like least about what you do?

That my time is my own. Sometimes you need an imposed schedule to push you.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A pop star! We had just moved to London and I discovered British pop music which was very exciting.

What was your first job?

I worked in a very chic boutique in the summer holidays when at school and saved enough to go to Australia for a few months when I was 18.

Biggest pastime outside of work

I am keen on yoga – I teach a bit, and I am also a massage therapist. And I love hanging out with family and friends.

Person most interested in meeting and why?

The Dalai Lama because he is the embodiment of peace but also he looks like a jolly and fun guy.

Three interesting facts about yourself

1. I can’t ride a bike.
2. I didn’t go back to Iran for nearly 20 years.
3. I have over a hundred cousins.

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Passionate
2. Loyal
3. Funny

Three greatest passions

1. Buddhism
2. Singing
3. Iran!

Favorite book

Anything by Jane Austen and Rose Tremain.

Favorite cause

Basically anything that empowers people to live at their full potential, whether that means being given financial aid or a chance to find expression. I think people have amazing capacity for healing and forgiveness and I support any organization that works towards that, with anybody in the world, doesn’t matter what nationality or class.

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Interview by Myriam Bouaziz
Introduction by Kaiser Shahid

Also this week

Phillia DownsLiza Elliott-RamirezPrerna Gupta

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