Adib Khorram

Young Adult Novelist
Picture Book Author
Travels from: Kansas City, MO

“Adib has crafted a sparkling, modern fairytale effortlessly woven with yearning, social justice, and sweet but complex friendships bursting with lovely little rays of hope.” – David Yoon, NYT bestselling author

Adib Khorram is a queer Iranian-American author. He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. A theater kid in high school, he went on to study design and technical theater at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, with an emphasis in lighting design, and spent several years in the event production industry.

His first novel, Darius the Great is Not Okay, won YALSA’s William C. Morris Award for Best Debut Author Writing for Teens, the Asian/Pacific American Literature Association’s Young Adult Award, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, among other accolades. A companion novel, Darius the Great Deserves Better, became an instant Indie Bestseller and received a Stonewall Honor. His picture book debut, Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz Story (illustrated by Zainab Faidhi) was published in spring 2021. His most recent title, Kiss and Tell, is a smart, sexy YA novel about a boy band star, his first breakup, his first rebound, and what it means to be queer in the public eye.

When he’s not writing, he enjoys yoga, figure skating, electric guitar, food, wine, tea, board games, and explaining to people why Kansas City has the best barbecue.

Adib’s Authors Out Loud Profile: 

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Kiss & Tell

Dial Books |
Young Adult

Kiss & Tell is a total rush! Perfectly sweet and swoon worthy. I loved every page!” – Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

A smart, sexy YA novel about a boy band star, his first breakup, his first rebound, and what it means to be queer in the public eye, from award-winning author Adib Khorram

Hunter never expected to be a boy band star, but, well, here he is. He and his band Kiss & Tell are on their first major tour of North America, playing arenas all over the United States and Canada (and getting covered by the gossipy press all over North America as well). Hunter is the only gay member of the band, and he just had a very painful breakup with his first boyfriend–leaked sexts, public heartbreak, and all–and now everyone expects him to play the perfect queer role model for teens.

But Hunter isn’t really sure what being the perfect queer kid even means. Does it mean dressing up in whatever The Label tells him to wear for photo shoots and pretending never to have sex? (Unfortunately, yes.) Does it mean finding community among the queer kids at the meet-and-greets after K&T’s shows? (Fortunately, yes.) Does it include a new relationship with Kaivan, the drummer for the band opening for K&T on tour? (He hopes so.) But when The Label finds out about Hunter and Kaivan, it spells trouble—for their relationship, for the perfect gay boy Hunter plays for the cameras, and, most importantly, for Hunter himself.

Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz Story

Dial Books |
Children’s

A picture book celebrating Persian New Year by award-winning author Adib Khorram

Kian can’t wait for Persian New Year! His family has already made a haft-seen, and Kian’s baba and maman told him that all the things on it start with S and will bring them joy in the new year. Kian wonders if he could add just one more S, to make his family even happier. Hmm . . . Sonny the cat’s name starts with S–but Sonny knocks the whole table over! Can Kian find seven special somethings to make a new haft seen before his family arrives for their Nowruz celebration?

Darius the Great Deserves Better

Dial Books |
Young Adult

In this companion to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius suddenly has it all: a boyfriend, an internship, a spot on the soccer team. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better?

Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, varsity soccer practices, and an internship at his favorite tea shop, things are falling into place.

Then, of course, everything changes. Darius’s grandmothers are in town for a long visit, and Darius can’t tell whether they even like him. The internship is not going according to plan, Sohrab isn’t answering Darius’s calls, and Dad is far away on business. And Darius is sure he really likes Landon . . . but he’s also been hanging out with Chip Cusumano, former bully and current soccer teammate–and well, maybe he’s not so sure about anything after all.

Darius was just starting to feel okay, like he finally knew what it meant to be Darius Kellner. But maybe okay isn’t good enough. Maybe Darius deserves better.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Dial Books |
Young Adult

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Winner of the William C. Morris Debut Award

“Heartfelt, tender, and so utterly real. I’d live in this book forever if I could.”
—Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian—half, his mom’s side—and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life.

Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush—the original Persian version of his name—and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.

Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough—then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay: From Idea to Novel

Adib takes his audience through the process of writing Darius the Great is Not Okay, from initial idea, through research, drafting, revision, and the publication process. Emphasis is placed on mining one’s own experiences to create emotional truth, and the importance of revision to the process.

Dismantling Toxic Masculinity Through YA Literature

Adib examines the phenomenon of toxic masculinity, its impacts, and how youth literature can be used to deconstruct it.

Decolonizing Your Reading and Writing

Diversity 201: Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

Everyone has their Own Special Somethings

Adib invites audiences to look to their own family and cultural traditions through the lens of story, using Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz Story as a jumping off point; students will create, write about, or illustrate their own table with seven items that represent them, their family, or what’s important to them.

Creating Affirming Mental Health Spaces

Adib fosters a frank discussion about supporting youth dealing with mental illness, using examples from his own personal life and from Darius the Great is Not Okay.

Forstering Queer-Normative Spaces or: Be Gay, Do Crimes

Adib leads the audience through an examination of how queerness operates in the world today, the importance of advocacy and intersectionality, and the ways queer folks affirm, support, and defend each other.

Adib Khorram (author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay) at the FYE® Conference 2020

Launching Darius the Great Deserves Better: Laurie Halse Anderson In Conversation with Adib Khorram

“What You Know” with Adib Khorram (Ep. 4 A Conversation about Iranian American Identity)

Darius the great is not okay | K-State Book Network

Launching Darius the Great Deserves Better: Natalie C. Parker In Conversation with Adib Khorram

Video Resources

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Honors, Awards & Recognition

William C. Morris Debut Award Winner
Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature
Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor
Stonewall Book Award Honor
Lambda Literary Award
TIME Magazine 100 Best YA Books of All Time

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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