Free Speech & Banned Books: A Conversation with Azar Nafisi in Utah

FREE SPEECH & BANNED BOOKS: A CONVERSATION WITH AZAR NAFISI in Utah

PEN America Utah, the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah, and author Azar Nafisi are partnering for an in-person conversation at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, September 22 that will explore the role Humanities and Liberal Arts play in the preservation of democracy. This unscripted discussion will draw upon Nafisi’s own experiences of dealing with censorship, documented in her memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, to look at how essential the written word is in preserving free expression.

Nafisi will also be discussing her new book Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times.

About the book:

What is the role of literature in an era when one political party wages continual war on writers and the press? What is the connection between political strife in our daily lives, and the way we meet our enemies on the page in fiction? How can literature, through its free exchange, affect politics?

In this galvanizing guide to literature as resistance, Nafisi seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, she crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.

In this galvanizing guide to literature as resistance, Nafisi seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, she crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.

Structured as a series of letters to her father, who taught her as a child about how literature can rescue us in times of trauma, Nafisi explores the most probing questions of our time through the works of Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and more.

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Featuring

Azar Nafisi is best known as the author of the national bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, a compassionate and often harrowing portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and how it affected one university professor and her students. Earning high acclaim and an enthusiastic readership, Reading Lolita in Tehran is an incisive exploration of the transformative powers of fiction in a world of tyranny. Nafisi explores the power of literature in traumatic times in her new book Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times. 


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