Marina Nemat was in born Tehran, Iran. During 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. The memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, was published in Canada by Penguin Canada in April 2007, has been published in 28 other countries, and has been an international bestseller. MacLean’s Magazine has called it “…one of the finest (memoirs) ever written by a Canadian.” 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. On December 15, 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 was published by Penguin Canada on September 18, 2010, and has so far been published in four countries. Marina has spoken at high schools, universities, and conferences around the world.
In After Tehran, Nemat reveals how writing brought her back to life. Immigrating to Canada in 1991 with her childhood love and first-born son, she played the part of a hard-working wife, mother, waitress at Swiss Chalet, and after her parents’ arrival in the country, dutiful daughter. The first 80 pages scribbled at the local Second Cup, and after her shifts at Swiss Chalet. It was followed by writing courses at the University of Toronto’s Continuing Education department.