515 Portage Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9
2018 El Tassi Lecture
As a teenager Marina Nemat was a political prisoner in Iran. Her book After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed probes her journey of acknowledging and living with the effects of torture and related trauma long after she was released from prison and moved to Canada. Her courageous story resonates with the journeys of countless refugees and political exiles.
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. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Her memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, was published in Canada by Penguin Canada in 2007, has been published in 28 other countries, and has been an international bestseller.
In 2007, Marina received the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament and, in 2008, the Grinzane Prize in Italy. She was the recipient of the Morris Abram Human Rights Award from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2014. In February 2017, she received Premio Ceppo Pistoia, a prestigious award given every year in Tuscany, 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, published in 2010.
Marina regularly speaks at high schools, universities, and conferences around the world, including University of Milan, Oxford University, Yale, Tufts, Berkeley, and Stanford, and sits on the Board of Directors at the CCVT (Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture) and Vigdis, a Norwegian charitable organization that provides legal and other forms of assistance to female political prisoners around the world. In addition, she is the chair of the Writers in Exile Committee at PEN Canada, a member of the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation in the U.S., and has been a volunteer at her church’s Refugee Committee since 2010. She has a Certificate in Creative Writing from the School of Continuing Studies at University of Toronto and currently teaches memoir writing at the SCS. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at the School. She’s also a senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. Occasionally, she writes book reviews and opinion pieces for various publications.