Lailee McNair Bakhtiar was born in Washington, D.C. and received a BA in French at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an MAT in French from College of Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, California. Her mother was born In Persia (Iran) and raised in the Bakhtiar tribe in Masjid Suleiman in the Zagros Mountains, then moved to the United States after World War II. Her father was born in Annapolis, Maryland into a Scottish naval family. Lailee, a former host and producer of Authors & Critics TV on PBS TV-KCSM, has written three books of poetry and two novels, including They Shake the Desert Sands (2010), Mending Nations (2000), Harem Letters (1998), Chai (1998), and The Roses of Isfahan (1997). Her documentary on the women of the Bakhtiar tribe, Ode to the Whorl, was based on her month-long journey camping with the Bakhtiar tribe in October of 2000.