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George Vlahakis
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Tim Callahan
India Studies Institute

Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009

Exiled Bangladeshi feminist author Taslima Nasrin will visit IU Bloomington, present lecture Jan. 23

Jan. 15, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Exiled Bangladeshi feminist author Taslima Nasrin will visit Indiana University Bloomington and present the Shiva and Ram Avtar Tiwari Memorial Lecture, "My Life: A Struggle for Equality," at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23.

Taslima Nasrin

Taslima Nasrin

Nasrin left Bangladesh in 1994 after Islamic extremists accused her of insulting Islam in her writings and threatened to kill her. She left India last March to seek medical assistance in Sweden and soon will move to Paris.

She will speak in the Faculty Room of the University Club in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Karen Hanson, IU provost and executive vice president, will offer welcoming remarks. The event is part of IU India Studies' lecture series.

Nasrin, the daughter of a physician, also became a doctor and worked in a family planning clinic in her hometown of Mymensingh, previously part of East Pakistan. She turned to poetry and other writing and her first book of poems, Hunger in the Roots, was published in 1986. A second book of poems followed in 1989, Banished Without and Within, and was a major success.

Her first foray into fiction writing, Lajja (Shame), brought her considerable critical acclaim, but when the Bangladeshi government and several Islamic fundamentalist groups perceived the book to portray Muslims in a negative light, it was banned and she began receiving death threats. The Bangladeshi government issued an arrest warrant for her in 1994 and she went into hiding after posting bail.

While in exile, she published several books and poetry collections, including, Tell Him the Secret (1994), Poems from Exile (1996), Meyebela, My Bengali Girlhood (1998), French Lover (2002), Ka (Speak Up) (2003), Feeling Empty (2004) and I Am Not Okay, But You Stay Well My Beloved Homeland (2006).

In addition to her award-winning literary contributions, Nasrin is an outspoken advocate for women and the power of free speech. She has criticized oppressive cultures and customs that discriminate against women without hesitation.

Editors: Arrangements can be made for interviews with Taslima Nasrin on Jan. 23 by calling George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or Tim Callahan at 812-855-5798.