Golara Haghtalab’s memoir captures the journey of self-realization | Books

In her new memoir, Golara Haghtalab shares what seems like an ordinary day. As she juggles different languages ​​and customs along the way, staying true to her Iranian upbringing and embracing her new American life, this day becomes another common thread in a larger fabric that helps individuals create a culture together.

Haghtalab will be at New Dominion Bookshop at 4 p.m. Saturday for a book talk and reading on “Immigrant: Courage Required,” which captures a moment of an immigrant’s experience within the context of a person’s journey and offers a space for reflection on a universal history. The University of Virginia alum said she especially enjoys attending literary events when her story inspires members of the public to share theirs.

“If you think this book caught your attention, that means there’s a space of curiosity within you, and I encourage you to follow that curiosity,” Haghtalab said. “Sometimes this book sparks conversations. Sometimes other immigrants start sharing their experiences, and I always come away learning something.

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Haghtalab was 21 when she arrived in the United States on November 11, 2011, and she happily calls Charlottesville her hometown. She pursued a double major in chemistry and plastic arts to obtain her bachelor’s degree from UVa and also holds a master’s degree in organizational development from American University. She lives and works in the Washington, DC area these days as a technology consultant.

Haghtalab is fluent in three languages ​​- Turkmen, Farsi and English – and is also fluent in Arabic. Trained in painting and drawing, she also harnesses the power of art as a communication tool by leading community art workshops. And through her new memoir, she explores the power of change as a transformative tool to help individuals and their societies grow and pursue higher goals.

One of the themes of his memoirs can bring people from all walks of life together: the importance of leaving behind the fear of change and embracing the realization that something better awaits us. Fear of the unknown can play a significant role in the American immigration story, whether it manifests as a newcomer’s nervous attempts to fit in or the worries of a longtime resident. regarding disruptions to the status quo.

“People not wanting to change might come from fear of the unknown,” she said. Being ready to face the unknown and see what’s there takes courage on a daily basis, “to remind myself that I am strong, that I am brave and that I will become a different person”.

Haghtalab decided the time was right to explore ways in which the experiences and voices of immigrants could bring people together as she watched social justice movements move into the national spotlight in recent years. Discussions about what it means to be an American grew as people of different races and backgrounds shared their struggles and accomplishments.

“As January 2020 rolled around, social justice topics came to the surface more strongly,” she said. “There was a change happening, and I became even more determined to help that change happen. It’s now 2022 and there are even more stories of immigrant writers.

His new book dives into the importance of hard work, determination and the drive to set and achieve new goals, and Haghtalab hopes people will see themselves and their own dreams as part of a story. ever-evolving American.

“It’s a book about change and transition – personal change and societal change,” Haghtalab said.

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