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Distinguished Lecture Series Presents Author Azar Nafisi on Sept. 25

By: Sherry Squires   Published 1:39 pm / August 25, 2017

Azar Nafisi

The Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series at Boise State University will present Iranian-American bestselling author Azar Nafisi at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom.

Her remarks are titled “The Republic of the Imagination.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. No tickets are required. Parking is available for no charge in the Lincoln Garage.

Nafisi is best known as the author of the national bestseller “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” which electrified its readers with 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. The book has spent more than 117 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

“Reading Lolita in Tehran” has been translated in 32 languages and has won diverse literary awards, including the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, Non-fiction Book of the Year Award from Booksense, the Frederic W. Ness Book Award, the Latifeh Yarsheter Book Award, the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, and an achievement award from the American Immigration Law Foundation, as well as being a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Memoir. In 2006, Nafisi won a Persian Golden Lioness Award for literature, presented by the World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media. In 2009, “Reading Lolita in Tehran” was named as one of the “100 Best Books of the Decade” by The Times (London).

Nafisi also the author of one of 14 essays featured for this this year’s Campus Read titled “Liberal Education and the Republic of the Imagination.” The essays, a digital collection, explore ideas and experiences ranging from literacy, cultural relativism, artificial intelligence and uses of technology, gender identity, poverty, and sense of self.

Her most recent book is titled “The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books” (October 2014), a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction in America today.

Nafisi is currently a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., where she was a professor of aesthetics, culture and literature, and taught courses on the relation between culture and politics, as well as was director of The Dialogue Project and Cultural Conversations. She studied in the United States in the 1970s and earned her Ph.D. at University of Oklahoma. She returned to Iran and taught at the University of Tehran, and in 1981, she was expelled for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil and did not resume teaching until 1987. She taught at the Free Islamic University and Allameh Tabatabai, and then held a fellowship at Oxford University, teaching and conducting a series of lectures on culture and the important role of Western literature and culture in Iran after the revolution in 1979. Nafisi returned to the United States in 1997 — earning national respect and international recognition for advocating on behalf of Iran’s intellectuals, youth, and especially young women.

The Distinguished Lecture Series features speakers who have had a major impact in politics, the arts, science, business or other realms of contemporary significance. Former speakers in the series include Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman, author Sir Salman Rushdie, Nobel Laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz, biologist E.O. Wilson, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president of Poland Lech Walesa, environmental architect William McDonough, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, author Sarah Lewis and others.

Learn more at and you may RSVP on Facebook: