Marina Nemat is the author of Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, published in 30 countries. She has received various awards and has given talks at high schools, universities, and conferences around the world. She teaches memoir writing at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.
Marina Nemat’s books are available at online and physical bookstores in many countries and languages, and also as e-books.
Prisoner of Tehran
In January 1982, Marina Nemat, then just sixteen years old, was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death for political crimes. Until then, her life in Tehran had centered around school, summer parties at the lake, and her crush on Andre, the young man she had met at church. But when math and history were subordinated to the study of the Koran and political propaganda, Marina protested. Her teacher replied, “If you don’t like it, leave.” She did, and, to her surprise, other students followed.
Soon she was arrested with hundreds of other youths who had dared to speak out, and they were taken to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Two guards interrogated her. One beat her into unconsciousness; the other, Ali, fell in love with her.
Sentenced to death for refusing to give up the names of her friends, she was minutes from being executed when Ali, using his family connections to Ayatollah Khomeini, plucked her from the firing squad and had her sentence reduced to life in prison. But he exacted a shocking price for saving her life — with a dizzying combination of terror and tenderness, he asked her to marry him and abandon her Christian faith for Islam. If she didn’t, he would see to it that her family was harmed. She spent the next two years as a prisoner of the state, and of the man who held her life, and her family’s lives, in his hands.
After Tehran is a moving account of Marina Nemat’s struggle to overcome her past and break the silence about her detainment.
Following her escape from Iran, she builds a new life in Canada with her husband and infant son. But Marina is haunted by survivor’s guilt. She feels increasingly compelled to speak out about what happened to her in prison, even if it means revealing the painful secrets she’d much rather forget. As her riveting story eventually becomes a bestselling book, Marina’s life is forever changed. She gains the strength to confront her past, re-engage with her distant father, and emerge from the emotional ravages.
Her story is one of courage and recovery, an amazing tale of resilience written by a truly inspiring woman.