Zara Houshmand is an Iranian-American writer. She is active in modern Iranian theater as well as traditional Balinese puppetry, and her own plays have been produced in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. She cooks compulsively for friends and especially enjoys cooking for retreats.
She has worked with the Mind and Life Institute for almost twenty years as an editor for books representing its dialogues between scientists and the Dalai Lama.
Her most recent book is A Mirror Garden (A. A. Knopf, 2007), co-authored with Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. Her poetry has been published in the anthologies Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been(University of Arkansas Press, 2006) and A World Between (George Braziller, 1999) and in journals including Caesura, Persian Book Review, West Coast Line, Di-verse-city, and Texas Observer. Her playThe Future Ain’t What It Used to Be was produced at the Burbage Theatre in Los Angeles (1986). Her translations from the Persian received the first commissioning grant from the National Theatre Translation Fund, and have been published in numerous journals and anthologies including Literature from the Axis of Evil (New Press, 2006), Words Without Borders (Anchor, 2007) and Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature (Arcade, 2006). As editor for the Mind and Life Institute, she has been responsible for a series of books representing a longterm dialogue between Buddhism and Western science. She has also pioneered the development of virtual reality as an art form; her installation Beyond Manzanar (with Tamiko Thiel), now in the permanent collection of the San Jose Museum of Art, has been widely discussed in works on new media and critical theory.