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Marina Nemat

Prisoner of Tehran

Date Recorded: May 14th, 2008
Recorded At: Toronto, Ontario
Recorded By: TV Ontario’s Big Ideas,
Duration: 30:00

Topic Background
Author Marina Nemat speaks on themes from her book “ Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir”, which chronicles her arrest on false charges by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and her subsequent torture in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

In this talk, she recounts her prison experiences, and describes the friends she made there. She offers her motivations to tell her story, and explains how the writing has helped her to heal. She explains too that her stories have provided her with an opportunity to share this often hidden part of Iran’s history in a human way from the perspective of a young girl.

Prisoner of Tehran was published in 2007 by Penguin and is has been translated into 13 languages.

Marina Nemat’s talk accompanies Toronto Journalist Hamida Ghafour’s lecture on The Sleeping Buddha, in one Canadian Voices programme.

These talks were originally broadcast on TV Ontario’s Big Ideas programme, in May, 2008. More information at

Speaker Biography
Marina Nemat was brought up as a Catholic in Tehran. Her father worked as a dance teacher, her mother as a hairdresser. She was a high school student when the secular monarchy of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrow by Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. Marina opposed the oppressive policies of the new Islamic government, attended demonstrations and wrote anti-revolutionary articles in a student newspaper. In 1982, at the age of 16, she was arrested and imprisoned for her views against the revolution. She was tortured in the notorious Evin Prison, well known for atrocities against political inmates, and sentenced to death. She survived after a prison guard rescued her with dubious intentions. He was later assassinated.

Marina soon thereafter married Andre Nemat, and they escaped to Canada in 1991. They have two sons, and live in Southern Ontario.

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