ORLANDO – Do books matter today? Come explore that idea with best-selling author Azar Nafisi when she speaks at Valencia College on Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.
Nafisi is the critically acclaimed author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” a long-running number one New York Times bestseller published in thirty-two languages, and “Things I’ve Been Silent About,” also a New York Times bestseller.
Nafisi will be speaking at Valencia five days before our national elections, and wants to remind Americans that imagination is at the heart of a progressive democracy. “When the founding fathers conceived of this new nation, they understood that the education of its citizens would be essential to the health of their democratic enterprise,” says Nafisi. “Knowledge was not just a luxury; it was essential.”
Her bestseller, “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” electrified readers with a compassionate and often harrowing portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and how it affected one university professor and her students. The book spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list and won numerous awards, including the Frederic W. Ness Book Award and the 2004 Latifeh Yarsheter Book Award.
Nafisi was born in Tehran, Iran, where her father once served as the city’s mayor. Educated in Switzerland and the United States, she returned to Iran in 1979 to teach English literature at Tehran University. In 1995, she quit teaching at the university and instead invited female students to regular meetings at her home, where they studied literature that was considered controversial in Iranian society. Today, she is a fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Nafisi’s speech is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Performing Arts Center on Valencia’s East Campus, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando. At 2 p.m., her presentation will be followed by a book signing.
Nafisi’s appearance is sponsored by the Valencia College East Campus Humanities Speakers Series.