When Azar Nafisi emigrated from Iran in 1997, she wasn't running away from her home country. She was trying to find her way back.
"I was a teacher. I was a writer. When I could no more either teach or write, and I was living in my own country but treated as an alien, I felt that if I leave Iran I can connect to my people better," Nafisi said in an interview with Q's Jian Ghomeshi. "I could talk about them the way I wanted to and create a conversation."
Nafisi first grabbed the literary world's attention with the publication of her book Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. The story of her experiences as a teacher in the Islamic Republic of Iran offered readers a rare glimpse into the lives of Iranian women at the time.
In her interview with Ghomeshi, Nafisi spoke about her hopes for the country's future, and the role that writers such as herself can play in it.
"Being an artist in any place you live is subversive," Nafisi said. "Artists should always be independent of politics. There is nothing sacred in art. You have to be blind like justice towards all ideologies. You serve truth, and truth is beauty."
Azar Nafisi speaks about her book Things I've Been Silent About on Q (June 2009).