University of Memphis Photo
Celebrated Guitarist and Noted Journalist Will Lift Veil on Iran Nov. 3 University News
For release: October 26, 2009

For press information, contact Jonathan Judaken, 901-488-7475

The University of Memphis will welcome renowned classical guitarist Lily Afshar and noted journalist Danny Postel for a discussion of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and the current situation in Iran, 30 years after the Islamic Revolution. “Lifting the Veil on Iran” will be presented Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the Rose Theatre on the U of M campus. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the program at 6:45 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Persepolis, the U of M’s common reading book for 2009-10, is a wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from age 6 to 14, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country

Afshar’s story parallels that of Satrapi’s. Born in Tehran, and visiting there as recently as last summer during the election protests, Afshar is a celebrated guitarist and coordinator of the guitar program at the U of M. She became the first woman in the world to earn a doctorate of music in guitar performance and has won numerous awards for her recordings and performances. Relating her experiences through her photos and her music, Afshar will discuss her reaction to Persepolis and to the contemporary situation in Iran.

Postel, the author of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism, will also share his perspective on Satrapi’s story and the future of Iran. Postel is senior editor of openDemocracy, an online magazine of politics and culture; a contributing editor to Dædalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a member of the editorial board of The Common Review; and a member of the editorial advisory board of Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture. His book is based on interviews with hundred of intellectuals and activists in Iran. He will explore the fate of Marxist intellectuals like Satrapi’s family in the Iranian Revolution as a beginning to his broader reflections on Iran today.

Both Postel and Afshar will participate in a question-and-answer session and sign copies of their latest works.

For specific questions, call Jonathan Judaken at 901-488-7475. For general information about the event or any of the programs of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, visit

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