Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Can Books Succeed Where Diplomacy has Failed? One Writer Hopes So
Azar Nafisi wrote Reading Lolita Teheran about her experiences leading a secret reading group for women in her native Iran. Nafisi wants to start a global reading group to encourage understanding and awareness about the importance of human rights, reports the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Nafisi hopes to fight the oppression she fled from by using literature to start a dialogue. "That is the one thing I have always dreamt of, to create this republic of imagination," she tells the Globe and Mail. She hopes that discussing works of literature from all over the world will spark recognition of similarities instead of igniting old differences.
The reading group will meet online, of course and the site will debut early in 2006. Despite the focus on literature, Nafisi makes clear this is a political move. "People think of activism in terms of going to the White House or becoming political every four years, but I think activism is also very actively and consciously supporting a culture of thought and imagination," she said.
Nafisi is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Reading Lolita in Teheran, an international bestseller, is banned in Iran.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Amy Tan, Unplugged
Tan achieved prominence with her first book, The Joy Luck Club in 1989. Now 53, famous and several trips up bestseller lists around the world, she talks to the Guardian about writing, mothers, daughters, loss and her peculiar brand of luck as her latest novel Saving Fish from Drowning, hits the shelves.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pinter to Miss Nobel Ceremony
Harold Pinter, the British playwright who was awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, will be unable to attend the December 7 award ceremony due to poor health, reports the BBC.
Pinter, who is 75, has been treated for cancer and doctors have forbidden him to travel, the Nobel Committee announced.
Mr. Pinter has recorded a speech which will be played at the ceremony and publisher Stephen Page will accept the prize on his behalf.