Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Centretown United Church507 Bank St.

The Republic of Imagination with Azar Nafisi

The Republic of Imagination with Azar Nafisi

Centretown United Church
507 Bank St.
Azar Nafisi - Photo by Stanley Staniski

The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books is a passionate hymn to the power of fiction to change people’s lives, by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In her exhilarating followup, she has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling, and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society.

Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her in Seattle, where a skeptical reader told her that Americans don’t care about books the way they did back in Iran, she energetically responds to those who say fiction has nothing to teach us. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite American novels—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Babbitt, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, among others—she invites us to join her as citizens of her “Republic of Imagination,” a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

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