Exile and Literature

Listen / Download

The writer Vladimir Nabokov once said: “I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.” Memory plays perhaps its greatest role in exile literature when its remembrance that keeps an individual’s story alive.

The Iranian writer Azar Nafisi knows exile. She was a professor in Tehran during that country’s cultural revolution. She was ultimately expelled from Tehran university for refusing to wear the veil. Now, she teaches in the U.S. and last month, joined us to discuss her memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran: a book that praises the power of fiction while contending with the loss of one’s homeland. So, who better to lead our two part series, Exile and Literature?


Azar Nafisi, Director of the Dialogue Project and Visiting Professor of Culture and Politics at John’s Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), author of “Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov’s Novels” and “Reading Lolita in Tehran.”

Dmitri Nabokov, son of Vladimir Nabokov, and translator of many of his father’s works. Dmitri is currently preparing a book of his
father’s poetry and writing his own autobiography.