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Diane Turbide

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Marina Nemat is not the first person to write a survivor's memoir about life under a dictatorship and how she withstood state-sanctioned imprisonment, torture and the threat of execution. Her Prisoner of Tehran belongs to a long line of literary memoirs that bear witness to what many of us can't even imagine.

Night, by Elie Wiesel, is a famous account of surviving the Holocaust. Less well known, but at least equally powerful, is Anna Heilman's memoir, Never Far Away, which won the City of Ottawa Book Award in 2002.

Besides bravery, endurance and literary quality, these three books have another commonality: They were all written by survivors who had been imprisoned as teenagers, kids who were too young to have formed solid political attitudes and ideologies. Why did they live when their friends and fellow prisoners died? How did they rebuild their lives? These are ongoing questions that enable us to reach outside our own lives.

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Last week, we opened our discussion of Prisoner of Tehran with a conversation with John Mundy, former Canadian ambassador to Iran.

This week, we have another special guest. Diane Turbide, a former arts journalist, is publishing director of Penguin Canada, specializing in non-fiction. As head of the Allen Lane Canada imprint, she has published books by historians Margaret MacMillan and Tim Cook, and political journalists Lawrence Martin and Craig Oliver, as well as the 18-volume series Extraordinary Canadians.

What was it about Nemat's memoir that made Turbide want to publish a book by an unknown writer? Join us on Tuesday, March 13 at 2 p.m. DST at http://tgam.ca/bookclub to join the conversation. Turbide will give us the inside scoop on working with Nemat, editing the manuscript and what happened after the book was published.

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