A Non-Conventional Woman: Two Evenings with Taslima Nasrin. A Report
This is a report of two evenings I spent with Taslima Nasrin in April 1996 in Cambridge (USA). Nasrin is a poet and writer; she was awarded the 1995 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Nasrin came to Cambridge to deliver lectures. Especially during the first, informal meeting and dinner, I approached Nasrin as a woman and a friend, trying to understand her, and to delve into her public, dramatic persona as a controversial and criticized writer and polemist, and as a symbol of freedom for thousands of women writers in the world.
April 28, 1996.
I sit down. I get up and walk around my home. My small apartment in Harvard Square, facing the golden and the blue domes of the Lowell House bell tower, doesn't suit me. Shining through the low rain clouds, the sun is reflected by the big golden dome of the bell tower, one of the several monumental buildings in Harvard. Harvard is affected by gigantism.
I sit at the computer. Last night, I went to bed with a fixed idea in my mind: that of writing something interesting, politically committed, culturally valid, and - above all - flattering about Taslima Nasrin.
Writing about her is not easy. It is very easy to give the usual account of her life and struggles. But it is extremely difficult to report what Nasrin told me - especially what she conveyed to me without words.
Last Wednesday I rang Tim Bryson, chief administrator and lecturer at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard. I asked him about Carolyne Wright. She was very busy, he said, because Taslima Nasrin was scheduled to speak at the Bunting Institute on the following Friday. Who, the writer? Yes, in the afternoon.
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