Dr Nasrin Askari

Dr Nasrin Askari

Department of Modern Languages
Research fellow and translator

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nasrin Askari is the author of The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes, (Brill, 2016), which won the World Award for Book of the Year in Iran. Currently, she is working on the Persian segment of the ERC-funded project “Global Literary Theory: Caucasus Literatures Compared,” led by Professor Rebecca Gould.

Academia.edu profile


  • PhD, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
  • MA, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto


I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto with full funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I have conducted research and taught at the University of British Columbia, where I developed UBC’s first curriculum in Iranian Studies. I have also conducted research at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, where I was a Bahari Visiting Scholar in the Persian Arts of the Book.


My primary areas of research specialization are classical Persian literature, the history and culture of late antique and medieval Iran, the Perso-Islamic literature of wisdom and advice, and medieval Persian popular literature. I am also interested in how literature interacts with other elements of culture, particularly with visual arts.

In my first monograph, I explored the medieval reception of Firdausī’s Shāhnāma, or Book of Kings, (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of medieval sources in a variety of genres, my research demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood by medieval authors as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites.

My second major project is the critical edition of a twelfth-century Persian work, entitled Mūnis-nāma, which was produced at the royal court of the Atabegs of Azerbaijan. The manuscript contains the earliest version of a well-known collection of tales in Persian that were hitherto assumed to have been committed to writing in the eighteenth or seventeenth centuries. These tales closely corresponds to the tales of the fourteenth-fifteenth-century Ottoman Turkish collection known as Faraj baʿd al-shidda (Relief after Hardship), and the early eighteenth-century adaptation of them in French known as Les Mille et un jours (One Thousand and One Days). My annotated edition of this manuscript will contribute to the study of the complex relations between the three collections of tales surviving in Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and French. Moreover, the author of the work states in his introduction that his intended audiences were the female elites of the royal court he served. Considering the significant role of women in the upbringing of prospective rulers and their great influence on their male companions at royal courts, the study of literature that specifically targeted female elites will complement the current scholarship on advisory literature for rulers and courtly elites. 

I am also engaged with the research project “At the Crossroads of Punjabi and Persian: The Traveling Tale of the Lovers, Hīr and Raṅjhā,” funded by Insight Grant of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and led by Professor Anne Murphy of the University of British Columbia. Still in its early stages, my work on this project concerns the textual analyses and translations of the nineteenth-century works related to the Hīr-Rāṅjhā narrative tradition in Persian.



  • The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes. Studies in Persian Cultural History 9. Leiden: Brill, 2016.

Journal Articles

  • “Élite Folktales: Munes-nāma, Ketāb-e dāstān, and their Audiences.” Special issue, Advice Literature and Persianate Political Ethics, edited by Louise Marlow, Journal of Persianate Studies 12, no. 1 (2019): 32–61. 
  •   “A Mirror for Princesses: Mūnis-nāma, A Twelfth-Century Collection of Persian Tales Corresponding to the Ottoman Turkish Tales of the Faraj baʿd al-shidda.” Narrative Culture 5, no. 1 (2018): 120–40.
  •   “A Unique Episode from the Kārnāmag ī Ardašīr ī Pābagān in a Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Indian Manuscript of the Shāhnāmeh.” Special issue, Pre-Islamic Iranian Literary Heritage, edited by Enrico G. Raffaelli, Iranian Studies 45, no. 2 (2012): 203–16. 

Edition (medieval manuscript) 

  •   Abu Bakr b. Khusrau al-Ustād. Mūnis-nāma, Majmūʿaʾī az andarzhā va dāstānhā-yi kuhan, girdāvarda-yi sada-yi shishum-i hijrī va darbardāranda-yi kuhantarīn rivāyāt az dāstānhā-yi Jāmiʿ al-ḥikāyāṭ [Mūnis-nāma: A twelfth-century compendium of wisdom literature and tales, including the oldest version of Jāmiʿ al-ḥikāyāt stories]. Tehran: Mauqūfāt-i Duktur Maḥmud Afshār, Forthcoming (expected May 2020). 

Book Chapter 

  • “Renovating the World, Restoring the ‘Good Religion’: Ardashīr’s Battle against Haftvād and the Giant Worm.” In Shahnama Studies IV. Edited by Charles Melville and Firuza Abudllaeva. Studies in Persian Cultural History. Leiden: Brill, Forthcoming.


  • Iraj Afshār. “The Form, Appearance, and Decoration in the Letters of the Safavid Kings.” Translated by Nasrin Askari. In New Perspectives on Safavid Iran: Empire and Society, edited by Colin Mitchell, 30–32. New York: Routledge, 2011.

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