By hosting this annual marquee event in the City of Fairfax, we see an incredible opportunity to build bridges across our diverse region. Conversation builds community. Nafisi’s books stimulate the conversations that are vital to private, civic, and public life.

The Alan Cheuse International Writers Center hosted its inaugural public lecture on April 4th, 2023. 

The lecture was delivered by Azar Nafisi, the New York Times best-selling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. Reflecting on current events to support women's rights in Iran, Nafisi’s speech touched on the two countries she calls home, and how totalitarianism in one country and totalitarian tendencies in another should be confronted through imagination and ideas. The evening included a book signing and reception framed by the pop up art exhibition "Formations of a Diasporic Body," by Mojdeh Rezaeipour, an Iranian-born Northern Virginia artist. Nafisi was in conversation with journalist Jacki Lyden.

This lecture series is made possible by the generous support of its sponsor, Busboys and Poets, and its founder Andy Shallal, who started the restaurant, bar, bookstore and community gathering place to serve the region as a cultural and arts hub. Additionally, the lecture is co-sponsored by William Miller & Elisabeth Vermilye, whose vision for the arts in Fairfax has supported Fall for the Book, as well as a vibrant creative community at George Mason University.

The Second Lecture, April 23rd, 2024 featured Nikki Giovanni.