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Azar 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[…]

Nafisi found many of her old students when the book came out.


Question: Do you still keep in touch with the girls you wrote about?

Azar Nafisi:  Yeah. At the beginning at first we were more in touch. It is amazing how life takes over even the best connections. But I don’t know if I should say fortunately or unfortunately. Those specific girls, most of them are abroad. Three of them are in the States. One is in Canada. One is in Germany. One is in Iran. A lot of times usually they contact me when my birthday or the new year comes. But with some I’m very close, and we have e-mail conversations. But through this book I also found a lot of my students that I had lost touch with since early ‘80s. That is the most amazing thing because these girls were the last students, and I was in touch with them anyway. But for a voice from the past suddenly coming alive, that is something very special.

QuestionDid any of your students from Iran contact you?

Azar Nafisi: : Some of them, yes. Some of them, yes. I constantly bash the Internet, but e-mail has been amazing. And the way they find you, you know, through the Internet. Yes actually . . . I’m just trying to think. Yeah, quite a few. Quite a few are from Iran. Over here sometimes I’m very much . . . Like I give a lecture, and then somebody comes up and says, “Do you remember me? I used to be in your class.” Once at Rutgers this girl came up and she said, “I was in the first class, in that Gatsby class!” you know. It is really an amazing experience. I have it all . . . I owe it all to this book. Books are the best things in life. They connect you to people you should be connected to.

Recorded on: 2/22/08