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Media Advisory

"Reading Lolita in Tehran" author at Zellerbach Dec. 5

29 November 2007

ATTENTION: International politics, religion and arts writers and editors

Contact: Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
(510) 643-5651 kmaclay@berkeley.edu

As attention in the United States and around the globe continues to focus on the Middle East and increasingly on Iran, Cal Performances and the University of California, Berkeley's Townsend Center for the Humanities are sponsoring a talk by Azar Nafisi, the outspoken author of the 2003 best-selling "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books." The book has been translated into 32 languages.

Nafisi will discuss "The Republic of the Imagination," which she describes as "a country worth building, a state with a future, a place where we can truly know freedom."

8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5

UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, near the intersection of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. An online map is available at: http://www.berkeley.edu/map.

Nafisi is a visiting professor and the director of the Dialogue Project at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. The Dialogue Project promotes - in a primarily cultural context - the development of democracy and human rights in the Muslim world.

Nafisi has lectured on culture and the important role of Western literature and culture in Iran after the 1979 revolution. She taught at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University in Iran and Allameh Tabatabai University, also in her native country, and became an advocate for Iran's intellectuals, youth and young women. She was expelled from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil in 1981 and did not resume teaching until 1987. Nafisi has been consulted by policy makers and human rights groups on issues related to Iran and human rights.

She is also involved in promoting literacy and reading books with universal literary value.

Tickets for the event are on sale for $18, $26 and $30. UC Berkeley students with identification can buy one ticket each for $5 at the Zellerbach Box Office. Reporters wishing to cover the event should contact Media Relations at (510) 643-5651.