Photo: Robert Goddyn
Iran, 1955
literary scholar and a newly American citizen

Azar Nafisi

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.

Speaker at


Part II. What Is an Educated Man?

Towards a Definition of Western Culture

9 September 2007 09.20 - 18.15 Passenger Terminal, Amsterdam


Part III. The Anatomy of Loss

The Quest for Life

2 November 2003 9.20 - 22.00 Tilburg University