Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Azar Nafisi to Speak Thursday at Left Bank Books

Posted By on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM

  • courtesy Random House
Azar Nafisi, author of the best-selling Reading Lolita in Tehran, will be at Left Bank Books in the Central West End on Thursday, March 18, at 7 p.m. to talk about her latest book Things I've Been Silent About: Memories of a Prodigal Daughter, which just came out in paperback.

Things I've Been Silent About is Nafisi's memoir of growing up in Iran before the Islamic Revolution. Her existence was a privileged one: her father was mayor of Tehran and her mother served a term in Parliament. But after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, Nafisi's father was jailed and her mother presided over clandestine "coffee hours" where men and women met to discuss the political upheavals that transformed their country.

Nafisi herself was expelled from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the veil, which the Islamic government had imposed upon all Iranian women. She eventually became a professor of Western literature, taught at Oxford and left Iran for good in 1997. (Reading Lolita in Tehran is her memoir of secretly teaching forbidden Western literature to a small group of students in defiance of the government.) Currently, she is a professor and the director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

  • S. J. Staniski
"In our current political climate, it's easy to see Iran and other places as a completely different world from our own," writes Danielle Borsch, Left Bank's events coordinator, in an e-mail. "But as Azar Nafisi has always shown in her writing, there are elements -- like books, like life -- that are experiences shared across borders.

"In Things I've Been Silent About, she shows how she learned to be silent, a lesson that many of us learn at some point, and one that has much bigger consequences, making it more difficult to stand up against injustices: personally, culturally, and politically. So, come out and join us not being silent."

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