Azar Nafisi knows the importance of literature in a democracy better than most. Nafisi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1948. After being educated abroad, she returned to her home country following the Islamic Revolution. Now living in the US, the self-described Iranian-American reader, writer, and teacher sees literature as key to the survival of democracy. In Nafisi’s eyes, it enables us to connect to one another and build empathy for those whose lives we would not otherwise understand.