Thursday, Feb. 28 – Winter With the Writers: Azar Nafisi
Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park
Azar Nafisi knows how to wield the power of literature. In 2003, she published a book about gathering a group of women every week to read the Western classics. Sounds like your typical book club, sure, but Nafisi was living in revolutionary Iran, and the women met secretly after she was forced to resign from her teaching post at a university because she refused to wear a modesty veil. The group consisted of her most ambitious former students, and the reading material was controversial and banned by the Islamic government, who imposed their version of morality on the populace. Nafisi, who finally left Iran in the mid-1990s, wrote about this experience and the impact this exercise had on the lives of these oppressed women in her bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which spent 117 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and earned Nafisi a reputation as a stellar memoirist. Shortly after that book was released, she wrote another memoir called Things I’ve Been Silent About: Memories, which reflects on her mother’s use of elaborate fictitious tales to hide her disappointment that she never led the life she’d wanted. Nafisi is generally acknowledged for her belief that literature has the power to liberate people, and she’s currently working on a book called Republic of the Imagination, which explores that concept. Expect to get a little preview of the book at this talk – and to hear Nafisi tell some good stories, as well. She didn’t get the reputation of being a master memoirist for nothing, you know. – Erin Sullivan
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