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Common book: 2009-2010

Prisoner of Tehran, Marina Nemat

Prisoner of Tehran book jacket

Prisoner of Tehran struggles with essential human questions including:

How to choose to live in the face of death?

At a time when most teenage girls are choosing their prom dresses, Nemat was having her feet beaten by men with cables and listening to gunshots as her friends were being executed. She was condemned to die, but survived because one of the guards, whose family was well-connected to the Khomeini regime, pleaded for her life. But the price exacted was high: Nemat, a fervent Christian, would have to convert to Islam and marry him.

In Prisoners of Tehran published in 2007, Nemat describes her experience of political upheaval, repression, and resettlement and explores the circumstances that may force people to leave their home country.

About the author

Photo of Marina Nemat - Photo credit
Photo credit Jason Miccolo Johnson

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of sixteen and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. In 1991, she emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, where she now lives with her husband, Andre, and their two sons.

Prisoner of Tehran has been short listed for many literary awards, including the Young Minds Award in the UK and the Borders Original Voices Award in the US. In 2007, Marina received the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, and in October 2008, she received the prestigious Grinzane Prize in Italy. In 2008/2009, she was an Aurea Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College, where she wrote her second book, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, which will be published by Penguin Canada in September 2010.