Zohreh Ghahremani is an author, speaker, and painter whose work is heavily influenced by her experiences as a Middle Eastern immigrant and her background as a poet.
Zoe actually began writing as a child, completing two novels before her teens! However, she was encouraged by family to pursue a more traditional profession and so became a dentist while her passion for literature stayed in her heart. Following her graduation from London University, for two decades she ran a busy pediatric dentistry practice in the Chicago area and taught at Northwestern University’s Dental School, but kept reading and writing at any opportunity. One day, she heard the advice that “if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you should do it” – so she walked into her office, put her practice for sale, and never looked back.
Zoe published her first novel – Sky of Red Poppies in 2010 and was blown away when it was selected for KPBS’ One Book, One San Diego, the annual city-wide reading selection. Her experience speaking to groups near and far and her joy at connecting with readers everywhere assured her that she had made the right decision. Her sophomore novel, The Moon Daughter won Writer’s Digest Book Awards for Best Literary Fiction. She is also the author of The Commiserator (in Persian) and has contributed to numerous other literary volumes. Today, she lives the life she always dreamed of: write, paint, garden, repeat! Zoe was profiled in the book A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives by Lisa Congdon, alongside Vera Wang, Cheryl Strayed, Laura Ingalls Wilder and others. The book showcases the remarkable experiences of women who pursued and achieved their ambitious dreams slightly later in life.
She now writes for both adults and children. Her debut picture book, Memory Garden, illustrated by her daughter Susie, will be published by Godwin Books/Macmillan in 2024.
Always finding a positive, Zoe believes that those years of teaching prepared her for her many public speeches! She enjoys giving lively and often humorous talks about the immigrant experience, family relationships, bicultural identity, Persian culture, and other themes of her work. She enjoys connecting with audiences of any age and any size, whether a class, a packed auditorium or a cozy meeting in a private residence (or on Zoom!) with a book club.
She has been featured on WBEZ in Chicago, Voice of America, KPBS, Radio Iran, Osher Club, at the Iranian-American Women Foundation Conference, and at universities nationwide including: Georgetown University, University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, San Diego State University, UCSD, and many more. Her books are also recommended reading at several colleges and high schools. Zoe enjoys supporting other writers and the world of books. She founded and curates the San Diego Central Library’s Author of the Month program, is an active member of San Diego Writing Women, and sits on the Board of the Friends of the San Diego Central Library. She is a past Board member of San Diego Writers, Ink and the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. In 2019, she was honored with a Community Leader Award from the San Diego Writers Festival. Among her favorite recognitions is that she was named to the local Girl Scouts’ Cool Women list!
Born in Iran, Zoe became a US citizen nearly fifty years ago and now lives with her husband in San Diego, where she lives this dream routine, taking breaks to participate in literary events, go antiquing (another passion!), or visit with her children and grandchildren.