Writer Azar Nafisi says fiction is vital to democracy, imagination defies limitations

It is not for nothing that tyrants burn books and imprison authors. Azar Nafisi says totalitarian regimes fear the power of ideas and nowhere are ideas more forceful than in fiction. Today, the author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran" introduces us to "The Republic of Imagination" where the power of stories and story-telling can determine the strength of a democracy....

"The crisis besetting America is not just an economic or political crisis; something deeper is wreaking havoc across the land, a mercenary and utilitarian attitude that demonstrates little empathy for people’s actual well-being, that dismisses imagination and thought, branding passion for knowledge as irrelevant." -- From Azar Nafisi's book, The Republic of Imagination 

It is not for nothing that tyrants burn books and imprison authors. Azar Nafisi says totalitarian regimes fear the power of ideas and nowhere are ideas more forceful than in fiction.

Today, the author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran" introduces us to "The Republic of Imagination" where the power of stories and story-telling can determine the strength of a democracy.

Small town America struggles with censorship and freedom as depicted in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. That battle continues in cities and countries around the world.

AzarNafisi had a front-row seat as free expression wilted in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution. She wrote about her experiences as a professor in Iran in her bestselling book "Reading Lolita in Tehran".

Her new book, "The Republic of Imagination", takes a look at the American experience through that country's literature. Her book celebrates the power of fiction and its importance to a healthy democracy.

Azar Nafisi was in our Toronto studio.


This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal. 

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