Acclaimed author Azar Nafisi announced as 2015 Commencement Speaker

Azar Nafisi

Critically acclaimed author Azar Nafisi will be the featured speaker at Claremont McKenna’s 68th Annual Commencement Ceremony, to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16 on Pritzlaff Field.

Nafisi penned the national bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which electrified its readers with a compassionate and often harrowing portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and how it affected the day-to-day lives of Nafisi and her students. A memoir told through literature analysis, Nafisi intertwines discussions from the book club she started with her former students to the unexpected parallels between those books and their lives in revolutionary Iran.  Reading Lolita in Tehran spent more than 117 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 32 languages.

Other recent works include Things I’ve Been Silent About, also a New York Times bestseller, and The Republic of Imagination:  America in Three Books.

After earning her Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma in the 1970s, she returned to Iran and taught American literature at the University of Tehran. She was expelled in 1981 for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil and did not resume teaching until 1987, when she taught at the Free Islamic University and Allameh Tabataba’i University.   She left Iran in 1997 and returned to the United States where she currently serves as the Director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

More on Claremont McKenna College’s 2015 Commencement events, including a detailed schedule, photography information, parking and hotel accommodations, can be found on the Commencement website.



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