Meet one of the most popular new young adult authors, Adib Khorram, at the library Wed, Feb 26. His hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Darius the Great Is Not Okay, received critical and readers’ acclaim. Khorram won the William C. Morris Debut Award and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature.
Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda described Khorram’s novel as, “Heartfelt, tender, and so utterly real. I’d live in this book forever if I could.”
Khorram has been surprised by the success of his first book. “Seeing it become popular has been surreal,” said Khorram. “At some level I always thought I was the only one who ever felt the way I did. But I managed to get at something universal in Darius’s story. Still not sure how I managed it!”
Darius the Great is Not Okay explores mental illness and racial issues as Darius struggles with depression. Darius Kellner is a self-described fractional-Persian who has never felt like he fit in anywhere. That is, until he goes to Iran to visit his grandparents and befriends the boy next door, Sohrab. Darius and Sohrab finally feel they have found a place where they belong, together. Khorram presents a truthful coming-of-age story of friendship and discovering yourself when and where you least expect it.
“With so many young people dealing with mental health challenges, I think we need more authentic stories, especially intersectional ones,” said Khorram. “I also hope they [readers] come away seeing Iran and Iranians as real and human.”
Currently, Khorram is not a full-time writer. He works as a graphic designer and videographer in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was born and raised. In addition to writing books, his interests include trying new tea, CrossFit, ice skating, video games and Kansas City barbecue.
Khorram was in seventh grade when he discovered his love for writing. He got his start in writing as many other authors do, with fanfiction. “My friends and I signed up for this after-school activity where we got to go write on these old computers, and we wrote stories about us going on adventures, usually Star Trek themed,” said Khorram
He is currently working on the sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay and he gave us a small teaser. “Darius the Great Deserves Better is a companion novel and follows Darius’s junior year as he navigates his first boyfriend, making friends on the soccer team, his dream internship, and family drama,” said Khorram.
Mark your calendar to be part of a conversation with Khorram and get your book signed Wed, Feb 26, 7-8:30pm.
Full Interview with Adib Khorram
How did you get your start writing? What was your inspiration for Darius the Great Is Not Okay?
I started writing in seventh grade or so, as so many writers do, with fanfic. My friends and I signed up for this after-school activity where we got to go write on these old computers, and we wrote stories about us going on adventures, usually Star Trek themed. I guess you could say they were self-insert fanfics.
Congratulations on such a successful book debut. As this was your first book, what was your greatest fear about releasing it to the public. How did it feel to see it become so popular?
I don’t know about fears. There’s always the worry no one will like it. But I worked hard on it and felt like it was the best it could be. Seeing it become popular has been surreal. At some level I always thought I was the only one who ever felt the way I did. But I managed to get at something universal in Darius’s story. Still not sure how I managed it!