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Gina Nahai

Lecturer

Contact Information
E-mail: gina.nahai@gmail.com
Phone: (213) 740-3252
Office: THH 355 H

LINKS
Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website
 

Biographical Sketch

Gina B. Nahai is a best-selling author, and a lecturer in the Master of Professional Writing program at USC. Her novels have been translated into eighteen languages, and are taught at a number of universities and high schools nationwide. Her writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Magazine, Huffingtonpost.com, and Truthdig.com. She writers a monthly column for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. She is the recipient of a 2002 Simon Rockower Award, and a finalist for an LA Press Club award. Nahai’s first novel, “Cry of the Peacock” (Crown, 1992) told, for the first time in any Western language, the 3000-year story of the Jewish people of Iran. It won the Los Angeles Arts Council Award for Fiction. Her second novel, “Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith” (Harcourt, 1999), was a finalist for the Orange Prize in England, the IMPAC award in Dublin, and the Harold J. Ribalow Award in the United States. A #1 LA Times bestseller, it was named by the paper as “One of the Best Books of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times. Her third novel, “Sunday’s Silence” (2001) was also an LA Times bestseller and a “Best book of the Year”. Her fourth novel, “Caspian Rain”, was published in September ’07 and was also an LA Times bestseller. Nahai is a frequent lecturer on the contemporary politics of the Middle East, has been a guest on PBS, CNBC, as well as a number of local television and radio news programs, and has guest-hosted on NPR affiliate, KCRW (The Politics of Culture). A judge for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards (Fiction, First Fiction), she has lectured at a number of conferences nationwide, and served on the boards of PEN Center USA West, The International Women’s Media Foundation, and B’nai Zion Western Region. Nahai holds a BA and a Masters degree in International Relations from UCLA, and an MPW from USC. She is a former consultant for the Rand Corporation. She has served on the board of directors of PEN Center USA West, B'nahi Zion Western Region, and the Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills, and on the advisory board of International Women's Media Foundation and Thirty Years After. She is a member of the International Women's Forum, and a fellow at the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. 

 

 

Education

M.P.W , University of Southern California, 1988
M.A. Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1982
B.A. Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1981
 

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Non-Tenure Track Appointments

Full Time Lecturer, University of Southern California, Master of Professional Writing Program, 2007-  
Lecturer, Master of Professional Writing Program, University of Southern California , 01/01/1999-  
Lecturer, Freshman Writing Program, University of Southern California , 01/01/1984-01/01/1988  
 

Other Employment

Consultant, The Rand Corporation, 1985-1987  
Research Assistant for Professor Richard Ashcroft , University of California, Los Angeles, Department of History , 1980-1981  
 

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Gina B. Nahai is the best-selling author of “Cry of the Peacock”, “Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith”, “Sunday’s Silence”, and "Caspian Rain". She holds an MA in International Relations from UCLA, and an MPW from USC. Her novels have been translated into 18 languages, and are taught at a number of universities in the US and abroad. She has been a finalist for the Orange Prize in England, the IMPAC award in Dublin, and the Harold J. Ribalow award in Fiction. Her writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.She writes a monthly column for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, for which she has twice been a finalist for an LA Press Club award. She is the winner of the Persian Heritage Award in 2008.
 

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

"AJC Global Forum", Coverage for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Invited, 2011-2012   
"Author's Roundtable ", Iranian American Women's Leadership Conference , Roundtable/Panel, Washington, DC, Invited, 2011-2012   
"Larger than Life ", Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, CA , Invited, 2011-2012   
"Pathways to Success", Iranian American Women's Leadership Conference , Roundtable/Panel, Orange County, CA , Invited, 2011-2012   
"Author Presentation/Guest Lecture/Keynote Speech", American Jewish Congress; , Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
"Caspian Rain ", Talk/Oral Presentation, Beverly Hills , BH Public Library, Invited, 2009-2010   
"Caspian Rain ", Talk/Oral Presentation, West Los Angeles, LA Public Library, Westwood, Invited, 2009-2010   
"Fiction from Elsewhere", Roundtable/Panel, UCLA , LA Times Festival of Books, Invited, 2009-2010   
"Global Connections", Southern CA Leadership Network , Roundtable/Panel, Los Angeles, CA , Invited, 2009-2010   
"Iran Before the Fall of the Shah", Talk/Oral Presentation, Newport Beach, Newport Beach Library, Invited, 2009-2010   
"Iranian Youth and American Politics", Thirty Years After, Roundtable/Panel, Los Angeles, CA , Thirty Years After, Invited, 2009-2010   
"Jewish LA ", Roundtable/Panel, UCLA, UCLA Jewish Studies Program, Invited, 2009-2010   
"The Enigma of Iran", Lecture/Seminar, USC, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, Invited, 2009-2010   
"The Enigma of Iran", Talk/Oral Presentation, Atlanta, GA, Decatur Book Festival, Invited, 2009-2010   
"The Iranian Jewish Community in Diaspora", American Jewish Congress, Lecture/Seminar, Orange County, CA , American Jewish Congress, Invited, 2009-2010   
"The Literary Marketplace", AWP, Talk/Oral Presentation, Chicago, IL, AWP, Invited, 2009-2010   
"The Role of Iranian Women in Society", Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles, CA , Loyola Marymount University, Invited, 2009-2010   
"The Third Temple", Casden Institute, USC, Lecture/Seminar, Los Angeles, CA , Invited, 2009-2010   
 

Publications

Book

Nahai, G. (2007). Caspian Rain. MacAdam/Cage.
Nahai, G. (2001). Sunday's Silence. New York, New York: Harcourt.
Nahai, G. (1999). Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith. New York, New York: Harcourt.
Nahai, G. (1992). Cry of the Peacock. Crown.
 

Book Review

Nahai, G. (2003). "A Promising Premise that Goes Nowhere," Review of The Master Butchers Singing Club By Louise Erdich, Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2003.
Nahai, G. (2002). "An Authentic Voice from the Margins," Review of Roofwalker By Susan Power, Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2002.
Nahai, G. (2002). "Behind the Veil," Review of ESTHER’S CHILDREN: A Portrait of Iranian Jews Edited By Houman Sarshar, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2002.
Nahai, G. (2000). "A Father’s Debilitating Illness Cripples His Daughter," Review of An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender, San Francisco Chronicle, June 16, 2000.
Nahai, G. (2000). "The Last Great Revolution," Review of The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran By Robin Wright, San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 2000.
 

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Theater, Becoming American (one act), staged reading by Jewish Women’s Theater, 4 performances, March 2012; staged reading at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, November 2012, 2012-2013   
Theater, Persian Gardens (one act), staged reading by Jewish Women’s Theater, 4 performances, March 2012; staged reading at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, November 2012, 2012-2013   
Article, "No Matter What, We’ve Already Won," Huffington Post, June 18, 2009 , 2009-2010   
Article, "Iran’s Never-Ending Movie," TheWrap.com, May 11, 2009 , 2009-2010   
Article, "What You Don’t Know About Your College Education," Huffington Post, January 6, 2009 , 2009-2010   
Article, "It Gets Worse," Huffington Post, January 6, 2009 , 2009-2010   
Essay , "The Third Temple", Published in Journal of the Casden Institute at USC , 2009-2010   
Article, "And You Thought Walmart Employees Had It Bad," Huffington Post, December 15, 2008 , 2008-2009   
Article, "The Great Shame of America’s Colleges," Huffington Post, December 14, 2008 , 2008-2009   
Article, "Even Paranoid People Have Real Enemies," Huffington Post, February 27, 2008 , 2008-2009   
Essay , "The Pearl Canon", published in "Triquarterly", 2008-2009   
Essay , Published in Anthology, "If Salt Had Memory", 2008-2009   
Essay , Published in "Triquarterly" Magazine, 2008-2009   
Essay , Shma' Magazine, 2008-2009   
Article, "The Lesser of All Tyrants," Huffington Post, June 19, 2007 , 2007-2008   
Article, "The Unintended Benefits of the Mess in Iraq," Huffington Post, June 15, 2007 , 2007-2008   
Essay , Essay published in Anthology "If Salt Has Memory", 2007-2008   
Essay , 614: HBI Magazine, 2007-2008   
Column, Los Agenels Jewish Journal , 2007-  
Article, "Bush’s Next Job," The Huffington Post, June 6, 2006 , 2006-2007   
Article, "Persian Gardens," Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2006 , 2006-2007   
Essay, "Mercy". Essay published in anthology, "Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt" , 2006-2007   
Article, "On to the Vatican," Huffington Post, June 1, 2005 , 2005-2006   
Article, "Where I Live," Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2005 , 2005-2006   
Article, "An L.A. Author Feels San Francisco’s Chill," Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2002 , 2002-2003   
 

New Courses Developed

Fiction Workshop, the Novel, MPW, 2011-2012   
Oral History: Witness and Writing, MPW, Developing works of fiction and non-fiction from the testimonies in the archives of the Shoah Foundation Institute at USC, 2011-2012   
Writer's Marketplace, MPW, Marketing, publication, and promotion in the digital age., 2007-2008   
 

Honors and Awards

Grant, Center for Scholarly Teaching, USC, 2012-2013   
Obtained Fellowship, Shoah Foundation Institute, USC, 2012-2013   
Grant, Learning Environments, USC, Spring 2013   
USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty Fellow, Awarded Learning Environment Grant Program, 2011-2012   
Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith selected as one of "The Best LA Books/Fiction" by the Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2011, 2011  
American Jewish University's "Burning Bush" Award, 2010-2011   
American Jewish University’s "Burning Bush Award," 2010 , 2010  
Brandeis University's National Women's Committee Award, 2008-2009   
FInalist, LA Press Club Award , 2008-2009   
Bradeis University’s National Women’s Committee Award, 2008 , 2008  
Finalist, Essay, Los Angeles Press Club Award, 2008 , 2008  
Winner, First Place, Persian Heritage Award, 2008  
Caspian Rain nominated by MacAdam Cage Publishing for the National Book Award, 2007 , 2007  
Caspian Rain nominated by MacAdam Cage Publishing for the Pulitzer Prize, 2007 , 2007  
Caspian Rain selected as "One of the Best Books of the Year," Chicago Tribune, December, 2007, 2007  
Caspian Rain selected as "One of the Best Books of the Year," San Francisco Chronicle, December, 2007 , 2007  
Finalist: Los Angeles Press Club Award, 6/16/2007  
Judge, Fiction/First Fiction Category: LA Times Book Prizes, 2005, 2006 , 2005-2006   
Judge, Fiction/First Fiction Category: LA Times Book Prizes, 2005  
Winner: Simon Rockower Award, 2002  
Sunday’s Silence selected as "One of the Best Books of the Year," Los Angeles Times, December, 2001 , 2001  
Finalist: Harold U. Ribalow Award, 2000  
Finalist: IMPAC Award, 2000  
Finalist: Orange Prize for Fiction, 2000  
Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith selected as "One of the Best Books of the Year," Los Angeles Times, December, 1999, 1999  
Cry of the Peacock nominated by Crown Publishers for the Pulitzer Prize, 1992 , 1992  
First Place: Distinguished Masters Thesis Award, USC, 1988  
First Place: Los Angeles Arts Council Award for Fiction, 1988  
First Place: Phi Kappa Phi Award, USC, 1986  
Honorable Mention: Nelson Algren Award, Chicago Magazine, 1985  
 

Service to the University

Other Service to the University

Speaker, MPW's Second Act Club, USC. , 2012-2013   
Moderated Panel at the LA Times Festival of Books with authors Assaf Gavron, Laila Lalami, and Reza Aslan., 2010-2011   
Organized and Conducted Interview with Sharon Waxman, Editor in Chief of Thewrap.com, at USC., 2010-2011   
Organized and Conducted Interview with Television Writers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin (The Killing) at USC. , 2010-2011   
Organized and conducted interview with Literary Agent Barbara Lowenstein at USC. , 2010-2011   
Faculty Liaison, MPW Alumni Association, USC. , 2009-2010   
Organized and Moderated Panel Discussion, "Made into Movies: From the Page to the Screen," with panelists Sanford Climan (producer/agent) Joel Gotler (literary agent), Neil Tolkin (screenwriter) and Marc Von Arx (entertainment attorney) at USC., 2009-2010   
Organized and Moderated Panel Discussion: "Writing in the Age of the Internet" with Tom Lutz (Editor in chief, LA Review of Books), James Rainey (Media writer, LA Times) Zuade Kaufman (Publisher, Truthdig.com), Otis Chandler (President, Goodreads.com)., 2009-2010   
Organized and moderated panel: "The Changing Face of Publishing." , 2009-2010   
Reading, USC MPW student/faculty reading series, "Holidays, Heaven or Hell." , 2009-2010   
Organized and Moderated "From Publication to Promotion: Panel Discussion with Karen Grigsby Bates, David Boul, Carol Chouinard, David Ulin.", 2007-2008   
Organized and Moderated "The Literary Marketplace -- Road Map to Success" with Sandra Dijkstra (literary agent, CA), Barbara Lowenstein (literary agent, New York), David Poindexter (publisher, Macadam Cage), Susan Salter Reynolds (LA Times) , Jan Valerio (Barnes and Noble) at USC. , 2007-2008   
Organized partnership and created blueprint for "One Book, One City" program at USC, in partnership with Mayor Villaraigosa. , 2007-2008   
Secured offer of an annual $10,000 Poetry Award, with publication, for MPW students from MacAdam Cage Publishers. , 2007-2008   
Suggested and helped design a Summer Writers' Conference at USC. , 2007-2008   
 

Service to the Profession

Conferences Organized

Speaker, Iranian American Women's Leadershio Conference, Costa Mesa, CA, 2011-2012   
Keynote speech, Shalhevet school, Los Angeles, 2011-2012   
Keynote speech, Universal love foundation, Los Angeles, 2011-2012   
Keynote speech, Mil ken community high school, Los Angeles, 2010-2011   
 

Professional Memberships

Fellow, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, 01/01/2008-  
Member, International Women's Forum, 01/01/2000-  
 

Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

Guest Author, "2 o'clock Show," KPQ Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "About Books," WVIK, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Between the Lines," WABE, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Beyond Words," KCLU, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Conversations," WQUB, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Studio Tulsa," KWGS, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "The AM Show," Cable Radio News, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Viewpoints," Media Tracks Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Writers on Writing," KUCI, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Charlie and Ernie in the Morning, WVMT Newstalk Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Cleveland Connection, WDOK Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Entertainment News, Westwood One Radio Network, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Jim Scott Show, WLW Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, KYW Newstalk Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Late Morning Edition, KVON Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Maggie Pascal Show, WCBM Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Michael Dresser's Show, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Morning Show, KCMN Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Morning Show, WGVU, National Public Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Morning Show, WRPN Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, Morning Show, WTBQ Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, WICO Newstalk Radio, 01/1992-01/2012  
Guest Author, "Between the Lines", WABE, National Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, "Conversations", WIP Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, "Extension 720", WGN Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, "Midmorning", Minnesota Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, "The Conversation", KUOW, National Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, KABC Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, KALW Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, KPFK Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Larry Mantle Show, KPCC Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Milt Rosenberg Show, National Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Voice of America Radio , 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, WNYC Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Weekend Edition Sunday, National Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Wisconsin Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Working Assets Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Author, Zelda Young Show, CHIN FM Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest Host, Politics of Culture, KCRW, National Public Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, "Afternoon Report", TV News Channel 8, Washington D.C., 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, "Good Day Atlanta", WAGA TV, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, "Morning News", WUSA TV, Washington D.C., 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, "Weekly Report", TV News Channel 8, VA, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, Jewish Television Network, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, KTTV News, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, Tavis Smiley Show, PBS Television, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, WCCO Radio, Minneapolis, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Guest, WILL Radio, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
Panelist, Dennis Miller Show, CNBC TV, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
WGN Radio, Chicago, 01/01/1992-01/01/2012  
 

Other Service to the Profession

Featured author, Jewish Women's Theater, Saffron and Roses., 2011-2012   
Speaker, Cal State University Writers' Conference. , 2011-2012   
Speaker, Jewish Library Association , 2011-2012   
Speaker, So Cal Connections, Los Angeles. , 2011-2012   
Participant, Book Expo America's "Digital Book Conference", New York, NY, 2010-2011   
Produced and Moderated "Media Panel" for USC's Master of Professioal Writing Program, 2010-2011   
Speaker, 30Years After's Annual Civic Action Conference, 2010-2011   
Speaker, Friends of Casden Institute's Annual Lecture, USC, 2010-2011   
Speaker, Inaugural event for the new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, 2010-2011   
Speaker, Progressive Jewish Alliance Annual Conference, 2010-2011   
Speaker, San Diego Jewish Women's Alliance, 2010-2011   
Speaker, Soroptimists Conference, La Habra, CA, 2010-2011   
Speaker, Tucson Festival of Books, 2010-2011   
Speaker, Women's Philharmonic Society, Irvine, CA, 2010-2011   
Jewish National Fund Annual Conference , 2005-2010  
Speaker, 30-Years-After National Conference, 2005-2010  
Speaker, AAUW, 2005-2010  
Speaker, ALOUD, Los Angeles Central Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, American Association of University Women, Laguna Beach, 2005-2010  
Speaker, American Association of University Women, Long Beach, 2005-2010  
Speaker, American Jewish University, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Ann Arbor JCC Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Associated Writing Programs, Chicago, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Autry National Center, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Beverly Hills Public Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Bowers Museum, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Brandeis University, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Centenary College, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Decatur Book Festival, Atlanta, Georgia, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Detroit Jewish Book Council, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Fullerton Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Georgetown University, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Google Headquarters, Palo Alto, California, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Hadassah International, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Independent Writers of Southern California, 2005-2010  
Speaker, International Women's Forum, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Iranian American Women of Southern California, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Irvine JCC Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Jewish Community Center, Irvine, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Jewish Federation, San Gabriel and Pomona, 2005-2010  
Speaker, LACMA, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Long Beach Women's Conference, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, USC, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Los Angeles Public Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Loyola Marymount University, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Marcus Jewish Community Center, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Miami Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, NCIBA, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Newport Beach Public Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Newport Beach Public Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Nextbook, Chicago, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Nextbook, Los Angeles, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Nextbook, Seattle, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Pacific Asia Museum, 2005-2010  
Speaker, San Clemente Public Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, San Diego JCC Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, San Francisco BJE Jewish Community Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, San Francisco Central Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, San Francisco JCC Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Santa Barbara Literary Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Skirball Cultural Center, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Toronto International Festival of Authors, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Twin Cities Book Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, UCLA Friends of English, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Washington DC Jewish Literary Festival, 2005-2010  
Speaker, West Hollywood Festival of Books, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Westwood Public Library, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Women for Conservative Judaism, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Women of Los Angeles and Women of Washington, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Women's American ORT, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Women's Dialogue, Los Angeles, 2005-2010  
Speaker, Women's Media Group, 2005-2010  
 
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