Story Title: The Papakh Hat
Collection/Anthology?: Not applicable. Available for free download (PDF format) from the Costa Short Story Award website.
Briefly: The 1979 Revolution has begun, and two partners in the city of Tabriz – one a poet, the other a university professor – consider an uneasy time ahead.
Afterthoughts: A rather poignant story this one, that pays tribute in some small way not only to those who suffered during the revolution in Iran, but to those who stood by their convictions. More than this the story focuses on those who would suffer regardless of whoever was in power – be it the Shah or the Muslim republic – because of their beliefs or sexuality. A brief visit to the ancient city of Persepolis and the focus on a Papakh hat, adds nicely to the cultural flavour of this story, and its symbolism.
Notable quote: He will never leave. The thought renders me rigid with fear. The revolution has already started in a raggedy sort of way, though no-one is admitting it, and he’s a target whoever ends up in power.
This story was read as preparation for casting a vote for the 2013 Costa Short Story Award. In all, six stories were selected by the award panel before being put to the public vote. All stories were presented without note of the author, so that each story would be judged on merit alone. For further details, please visit the Costa Short Story Award website.