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Night Letter

Night Letter

Meghan Nuttall Sayres


Set in Persia, Night Letter is a tale of slavery, mysticism, and a damsel in distress determined to save herself.

Anahita, a nomadic weaver living in early 20th-century Iran, is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding and thrown into the world of slavery and the mystical Sufi faith. Tinged with the fairytale quality of her award-winning Anahita’s Woven Riddle (reissued by Nortia Press), Sayres weaves details of Persian culture with poetry to create the story of a damsel in distress determined to save herself.

ISBN:  978-0-9848359-0-4

$18.99 | 312 pp. | Hardcover with map, glossary and discussion guide | Recommended for anyone over 12

Original cover art by Rashin Kheiriyeh

Praise for Night Letter

“This fast-paced adventure is filled with tension, excitement, and a realistic sense of history. The text rings true to the extensive research documented in the lengthy author’s note. The main characters are well drawn, and both Anahita’s independent spirit and her determination will resonate with readers. The novel is imbued with details featuring the rich and exotic rituals, dress, poetry, and customs of early-20th-century Persian and Uzbek cultures and quotes from poets such as Rumi and Omar Khayyam. Numerous Farsi words–all explained in context and/or in the glossary–add authenticity to the tale. The novel includes a discussion guide and notes about slavery, past and present, coupled with websites indicating ways in which readers can help victims of human trafficking. Anahita’s epic love story captures the mystique of long-ago Persia while providing a framework for exploring issues of social justice still relevant in our own times.” —Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, School Library Journal

“The design of both books is outstanding, drawn from classic tapestries and motifs, and points to the creativity and innovative form and content that one often finds with non-corporate publishers. In its juxtaposition of Anahita’s first-person narrative and an omniscient third-person narrator who reveals the behind-the-scenes intrigues to rescue the kidnapped teenager,  Night Letter raises the tension and keeps the reader guessing as to who is friend and who is foe.” —Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Times Union (Albany)

“Shifts in narrative perspective from Anahita’s first-person account to the third-person narration of events taking place on her behalf, keep readers engaged in this action-laden adventure in a seldom-explored historical setting” —Karen Coats, Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books

“With each word written Ms. Sayres sets the stage for this beautiful and epic love story. She has a gift of description that makes it effortless for the reader to place you in the scene of the book rather than outside, just as a reader. You immediately identify with each of the characters, but don’t let that fool you, the ending twists and turns like the history of Persia and only in the last chapters can you begin to formulate the heroines ending. A great entertaining read!” —Persian Heritage Journal

“Intrigues, a kidnapping, and a rescue attempt kept me turning the pages of this novel. Long after finishing the book, I kept thinking about the inner wisdom Anahita receives that helps shape her destiny—the story resonates like a Sufi poem.” —Marilyn Carpenter, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University, and founder of The Children’s Book Compass

“The history of modern Iran is unknown to most Americans, yet the call for justice based on true events dramatized in Night Letter is greatly relevant to the world today.” —Bob Greene, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and retired owner of the indie bookstore Book People of Moscow, ID

“A visual and literary feast.” —Fahimeh Amiri, Amiri Fine Arts, illustrator of The Prince Who Ran Away: The Story of Gautama Buddha

Night Letter is an engrossing adventure of love and danger amidst the social turmoil of early 20th-century Persia.” —Constance Vidor, recipient of the U.S. Board on Books for Young People Bridge  to Understanding Award, and Director of Library Services, Friends Seminary, New York City

“[If] you’re at all interested in Middle Eastern cultures, I couldn’t recommend it more. A beautifully written book, all around.” —Meghan (different Meghan!), An Average Blog About Awesome Things, the (un)official teen blog of the Kettleson Memorial Library

“I really got hooked to see where Anahita ended up and whether Arash could find her in time. Five stars!” —Cleo Li-Schwartz, Cleo’s Literary Reviews

About the Author

Meghan Nuttall Sayres

Meghan Nuttall Sayres is a tapestry weaver who has traveled to Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East and Central Asia, where she has met with scholars, carpet weavers, dyemasters, and merchants to study the age-old techniques, symbolism, and Sufi poetry that infuse many rugs woven throughout the region. Her debut novel Anahita’s Woven Riddle (reissued by Nortia Press in 2012) has been translated into Persian, Hebrew, and Italian. It was chosen as an American Library Association (ALA) Top Ten Best Books, an American Booksellers Association Book Sense/Indie Pick, and an ALA Amelia Bloomer Feminist Choice Book, among other awards. While researching Night Letter Meghan traveled by train across the deserts of Uzbekistan to the ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, plotting scenes and imagining Anahita’s possible escape routes. Other books by Meghan include Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland and Daughters of the Desert: Tales of Remarkable Women From the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Traditions (co-author). She is also editor of the anthology Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran. Meghan lives in Washington State. She writes regularly for her blog Writing and Wandering: