Thursday, January 31, 2019
in conversation with Maz Jobrani
discussing his book,
Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison—Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
3131 Olympic Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
This event is part of our Newer Voices Series.
General Admission tickets are complimentary, but we encourage you to support these newer authors and purchase their books.
>>> Pre-purchasing the book includes a Two Reserved Seats ($30)
The dramatic memoir of the journalist who was held hostage in a high-security prison in Tehran for eighteen months and whose release—which almost didn’t happen—became a part of the Iran nuclear deal
Jason Rezaian served as Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post and is now an opinion writer for the paper and contributor to CNN. He was convicted—but never sentenced—of espionage in a closed-door trial in Iran in 2015. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife.
“A deeply personal account of one journalist’s determination to find and report the truth, his fervent commitment to a free press, and his even more profound love for the family from whom he was separated.” (John F. Kerry, 68th Secretary of State)
“An important story. Harrowing, and suspenseful, yes—but it’s also a deep dive into a complex and egregiously misunderstood country with two very different faces. There is no better time to know more about Iran—and Jason Rezaian has seen both of those faces.” (Anthony Bourdain)
“Reading this book opened my eyes to how unfairly he had been treated by the Iranian government and how love, humor and resilience got him through. This book is a reminder of the people who sacrifice their freedoms and their lives to bring us the truth.” (Maz Jobrani)
In July 2014, Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iranian police, accused of spying for America. The charges were absurd. Rezaian’s reporting was a mix of human interest stories and political analysis. He had even served as a guide for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Initially, Rezaian thought the whole thing was a terrible misunderstanding, but soon realized that it was much more dire as it became an eighteen-month prison stint with impossibly high diplomatic stakes.
While in prison, Rezaian had tireless advocates working on his behalf. His brother lobbied political heavyweights including John Kerry and Barack Obama and started a social media campaign—#FreeJason—while Jason’s wife navigated the red tape of the Iranian security apparatus, all while the courts used Rezaian as a bargaining chip in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.
In Prisoner, Rezaian writes of his exhausting interrogations and farcical trial. He also reflects on his idyllic childhood in Northern California and his bond with his Iranian father, a rug merchant; how his teacher Christopher Hitchens inspired him to pursue journalism; and his life-changing decision to move to Tehran, where his career took off and he met his wife. Written with wit, humor, and grace, Prisoner brings to life a fascinating, maddening culture in all its complexity.
Maz J0brani’s first original NETFLIX standup special Immigrant was filmed at the Kennedy Center and is currently available for streaming. He has also put out 3 other solo specials on SHOWTIME including: Brown and Friendly, I Come in Peace, and I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV. In the Spring of 2016 he performed at the White House where he had the privilege of introducing Michelle Obama. He was a founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which aired on Comedy Central. Maz starred as the title character in the award-winning indie comedy, Jimmy Vestvood Amerikan Hero, a film which he co-wrote and co-produced and is now available on all major outlets online. He has co-starred in many films including Disney’s, Descendants, Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter and Ice Cube’s Friday After Next. With over 50 guest star appearances, Maz can regularly be seen on television’s most popular shows. Guest stars include Grey’s Anatomy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Shameless. He is a regular panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’s Tell Me and has given 2 TED Talks. He is the author of I’m Not a Terrorist But I’ve Played One on TV. He was executive producer of Everything Must Change, a documentary about his sister’s battle with breast cancer which is currently available on iTunes.