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Azar Nafisi cites books of humanities and science as bedrock of democracy and freedom
Introduced at the year's prestigious 'Lillian Fein Literary Event' at the 2014 Miami Book Fair International by Dr. Ellen Fein, bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Iranian born Azar Nafisi gave thanks to the poets who inspired her, especially Ed Hirsh, before stressing the importance of books and authors who had the courage to write them. Pointing to the 'Tree of Knowledge' myth in the Bible, Nafisi said that we cannot be human until we bite the apple, or as the author James Baldwin wrote it is a 'crime of innocence' to not know our humanity. Citing the author Saul Bellow and other poets, Nafisi claimed that freedom and imagination took courage and that democracy was based on imagination found in the public education in the essential values of the sciences and the humanities. In wrapping her presentation of her new book, The Republic of Imaginatin: A Life in Books (Penguin Books; September, 2015), Nafisi told about becoming a U.S. citizen and what it meant to her, receiving a rare standing ovation.

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