Thursday, 15 October 2009

An exceptional opportunity for short story writers

Lion Lounge Press is an independent publishing company that specialises in creative writing, both short creative fiction and non-fiction, as well as poetry.

The Lion Lounge Press is currently accepting submissions of the above description for their 2010 publications, and I would like to extend an invitation to you to pass on our details to your Creative Writing students.

In August of this year, Lion Lounge Press published the first issue of its literary journal, The Lounge Companion, in which we managed to include both previously unpublished authors from various creative writing courses around the world, as well as established and critically acclaimed writers.

Though The Lion Lounge does not offer pecuniary compensation for shortlisted submissions, we realise that publication is in itself a form of remuneration, especially for those that are looking to make a name for themselves as writers, and we would also like to stress that in no way do we intend to seize hold of the writers’ copyright. In fact, contracts will be drafted with shortlisted authors in order to protect their interests.

The next issue of The Lounge Companion is scheduled for publication in March 2010, and we will continue to accept submissions for it until the 31st December 2009.

We also welcome submissions for our other 2010 publications, including travel writing and other genre fiction. Please have a look at for more details. The website also includes downloadable posters in pdf-format, that I would otherwise gladly email to you, should you so wish.

If you have any queries regarding the above-mentioned, please do not hesitate to ask.

All submissions are to be sent to

There are no thematical restrictions. All themes, thoughts, and ideas are welcome.

Prose Criteria: a maximum of 3 short stories, of no more than 2,500 words each
Poetry Criteria: a maximum of 5 poems on no more than 5 pages in total
Submission Deadline: 31st December 2009

Email your submissions as MS Word document (.doc) attachments, and state ‘Prose,’ or ‘Poetry’ in the subject line respectively.
You’re more than welcome to submit both prose and poetry, though please submit them separately.

Kind regards,

Leon Turner

Founding Editor

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Mr. President Obama: It’s the Persian Gulf. Please don’t step on a nation’s dreams – an open letter to President Obama

October 11, 2009


Your Excellency,

President Obama,

First of all, I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you for your Noble Peace Prize. I really hope this prize can get your message through to the hearts and minds that are sealed with hatred and lust for power.

I am Arash Hejazi. You might have heard my name before, as I am the doctor who tried to save Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot during the peaceful demonstration against the frauds in the Iranian elections, the same woman you have mentioned twice in your speeches in the last four months.

I am the one who left his country to bear witness to the absolute cruelty and injustice that ended up in the death of that innocent girl who was shot in the chest by an Iranian pro-government militiaman and bled to death under my eyes.

Mr. President,

I was there when Neda died. I made sure that the world saw the look in her eyes just before she died. I testified about the circumstances of her death, so that every tyrant in the world would know that there is always someone watching.

She died for a reason there; she died for a dream at a time when all dreams were shattered. She died to bring back dignity to a country that was becoming one of the most hated states in the world. She tried to show the world that Iran was not about nuclear activities, terrorism and fundamentalism, but about believing in dreams, courage, dignity, unconditional love, and paying any price necessary to get one step closer to freedom. Her death introduced anew the purity of a three thousand year old nation to the world.

I have lost everything since I bore witness to this crime, I have lost my career, my decent life in Iran, my family security, my safety, my country, and now I am on my own in this large world, without money, without a job, and with a family to support.

But I don’t regret what I have done and I would have done it again if the clock turned back; although the world watched that innocent look in Neda’s eyes and did nothing. Millions of people shed tears, but no one did anything. As usual, everybody watched, they cursed the tyrant, they blessed the martyr, but no one took a step to support a nation that has been the homeland to the first declaration of human rights.

Nevertheless, I am not writing this letter because I want you to do something. No, the people of Iran will fight and gain their freedom without asking for the help of any authority in the world. What makes me compelled to write to you is that although we don’t need anyone’s support, we appreciate if the world does not try to distort the truth.

Neda did not die for a country, but for a dream called Iran. One of the major symbols of Iran in the hearts of the Iranians is the Persian Gulf, a beautiful gulf in the Middle East that in your speech, you have referred to as ‘The Gulf’.

Mr. President, the Persian Gulf has been called the Persian Gulf BC by Daryus the Great and Herodotus in the fifth century; by Claudius Ptolemaues in the second century BC and by Quintus Curticus Rufus in the first century AD, and its official name is still the ‘Persian Gulf’. The United Nations has issued two editorial directives in which the states have been asked to only use “Persian Gulf” as the official and standard geographical designation for the body of water.

The implication of Neda in your speech was heart-warming for the Iranian Nation; however, when you omit the word ‘Persian’ from the Persian Gulf, you are stepping on the dreams of Neda and a nation that have nothing left but their dignity and their dreams. I am sure that you have no intention of stripping a nation from what is rightfully theirs.

I have lost everything for a dream, and I believe that you Mr. President are one of the few politicians left in the world who still believe in dreams.

I salute you and I wish you the very best in the long journey ahead of you. I hope you too wish the best for a nation that is struggling towards its dream for freedom and prosperity amidst the blood of its loved ones.

Sincerely yours,

Arash Hejazi