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This interview is taken from PN Review 130, Volume 26 Number 2, November - December 1999.

Mimi Khalvati in Conversation Vicki Bertram

VICKI BERTRAM: Could you tell me a bit about where you were born and where you travelled to: about the geographical placing of your life?

MIMI KHALVATI: Well, I was born in Tehran, and I lived there for the first six years of my life. And when I was six, I was put on a plane and sent to England, to the Isle of Wight, to Shanklin, to go to boarding school there. Of course, I didn't speak English at all. So I remember the sensation of bewilderment crowding into my mind and me pushing it back, because there was trust there. I can't remember my early childhood at all, but my sensation is that it was quite happy. I was very much the apple of everyone's eye, because I was the one child, and grandchild. And I wore big pink bows in my hair! So the trust came, I guess, from these large bows! It wasn't unusual, of course, to send your kids to have a good English education, but I think it was unusual at that age, and it was unusual not to go home for the summers. That was because my mum was, by this time, separated from my father, and she was what we'd now call a single parent, a single working parent. She worked in a bank to pay school fees and stuff, and I think she just couldn't afford holidays. So I very quickly forgot how to speak Persian. By ...


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