Azar Nafisi

Iran, 1955

Azar Nafisi is a writer and literary scholar. After her studies in Switzerland and the United States, Nafisi returned in 1979 to Tehran to teach English literature at university level. About her experiences as a lecturer, she wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003), which has sold over a million copies and which, after a successful opera adaptation, is currently being turned into a film. In 1997, Nafisi emigrated to the US; in 2008, she became an American citizen. Another two bestselling books have since been published: Things I’ve Been Silent About (2009), about her youth in Tehran, and The Republic of Imagination (2014), describing the journey that led her to become an American citizen, a deeply moving hymn to America and a passionate plea for the importance of literature. Nafisi is a Visiting Professor and the Executive Director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where she is a Professor of Aesthetics, Culture and Literature, and teaches courses on the relation between culture and politics. Nafisi also writes for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian.