Nafisi to read from, sign her new book, ‘Republic of Imagination’

Azar Nafisi, whose New York Times best-selling “Reading Lolita in Tehran” captivated readers 10 years ago, will be in Wichita on Thursday to read from and sign her new book, “The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books.”

“Reading Lolita in Tehran” told the story of how Nafisi taught American literature to students in Iran, showing the ways fiction could combat a totalitarian ideology. “The Republic of Imagination” continues in that vein, taking a close, impassioned look at the role of fiction in a democratic society.

Part memoir and part polemic, the new book examines three key American novels – “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, “Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers. Nafisi’s readings of them, plus her own experience of discovering American fiction as a girl in Tehran, then later becoming a U.S. citizen, fuel her argument that literature and imagination can play a vital role in civic life.

Nafisi, visiting professor and the director of the Dialogue Project at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University, will be at the CAC Theater on the campus of Wichita State University. The event, hosted by Watermark Books and WSU, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

The event is ticketed. For $32, attendees receive two tickets and a copy of “The Republic of Imagination.” Tickets can be purchased at Watermark Books and Cafe, 4701 E. Douglas, by calling 316-682-1181 or by going online at

Eagle staff