Biography

aliAli was born in 1976 in Tehran, the capital of the then Kingdom of Iran, two years before the Iranian Revolution transformed the country into an Islamic Republic. He attended primary and early high school during the Iran-Iraq War and its immediate aftermath; and produced his first public writing – a simplified prose version of an episode of the early medieval epic Shah-Nameh (Book of Kings) – at 13.

Ali and his family immigrated to Australia in 1991; and after high school in Queensland, Australia, he enrolled in the Creative Arts Program at Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, in 1995. There he began writing performance poems and reading them at pubs and student gatherings; then, after accepting an offer to do his Honours at the same university, he produced an experimental narrative poem titled eliXir: a story in poetry, his first book.

Ali then moved to Melbourne to study for his PhD at Deakin University, went on to complete his thesis, an exploration and redefinition of epic poetry titled ‘La Pucelle: the Epic of Joan of Arc’, in 2004; while publishing poems and other writings in local and national literary journals, and winning the Verandah magazine’s 2000 Literary Award for the long poem ‘Princess’. After being awarded his PhD in Professional Writing, and having decided to leave Australia in search of creative freedom and inspiration, he lived in China for two years until 2007, then in Turkey for another year, before moving to Dubai where he taught writing and literature for three years. He returned to Australia in 2011 and now lives in Melbourne. He is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literary Studies at Monash University.

Ali’s latest book is the work of fiction Transactions (University of Queensland Press, 2013), a narrative of perverse and satiricial interconnected stories. His other books include a collection of poems articulating perceptions shaped by violence, Eyes in Times of War (Salt Publishing, 2006); with Kenneth Avery, translations of mystical poems of a Sufi master, Fifty Poems of Attar (re.press, 2007); the novel The New Angel (Transit Lounge Publishing, 2008 ), a tragic love story set during the Iran-Iraq War; Iran: My Grandfather (Transit Lounge Publishing, 2010), a work of creative non-fiction about Ali’s grandfather and modern Iranian history; and the collection of poetry Ashes in the Air (University of Queensland Press, 2011), shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

Ali’s forthcoming book is a literary historical novel titled The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc, and will be published by Giramondo Publishing in 2017. It presents a fresh, possibly controversial account of the medieval French heroin’s life, based on close to two decades of research and experimentation. Ali is also currently researching the French Revolution for a future book project.