SAL/on air is a literary podcast featuring the best author talks from over thirty years of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ programming.
In 2003, Azar Nafisi electrified readers worldwide with Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which went on to become a long-running #1 New York Times bestseller. A modest professor of English literature, Nafisi taught at the University of Tehran as the Islamic Revolution raged around her, until she was fired in 1981 for her refusal to wear the mandatory veil. Before leaving the country in 1995, Nafisi spent two years holding secret classes on forbidden Western literature in her home.
Reading Lolita in Tehran recounts seven young women students passionately relating Nabokov’s works, as well as novels like Madame Bovary and Pride and Prejudice, to their own lives, claiming intellectual freedom through their survey of banned literature. In episode, we hear from Nafisi, who joined us at Benaroya Hall in February 2006 for Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 2005/06 Season. At the conclusion of Nafisi’s talk, Margit Rankin, then-Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures, joins her in an interview about teaching, intellectual integrity, and the dire consequences of banning books.
Air Date: April 22, 2019
Audio from lecture: Azar Nafisi
Recorded February 28, 2006
at Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium