Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer - Speaking Tour 2014

Posted Saturday March 15th 2014 by Jen Angel

Throughout 2014, Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer will be touring in support of their new memoir “A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran,” coauthored with Josh Fattal and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 2014). 

In A Sliver of Light, the three authors weave together their unique experiences of prison in Iran—how they were captured, what brought them to live and travel in the Middle East, how they survived months of interrogation and the psychological torture of solitary confinement, and the international campaign to free them.

Since their ordeal, Sarah and Shane have gone on to speak out about a wide range of human and prisoner rights issues, focusing on solitary confinement. During their speaking events, Sarah and Shane tell their stories of abuse from guards, clandestine encounters with other political prisoners, their collective strategies of resistance, the visit their mothers were granted to Tehran and their eventual trial for espionage. Each presentation is tailored to the audience.

Funds raised from speaking engagements will support Sarah’s work with Solitary Watch—collecting oral and written testimonies of prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons—which Sarah will publish in an anthology and weave into a play called “Opening the Box”and Shane’s investigative journalism, such as his cover story for Mother Jones magazine, “Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons” (Nov/Dec 2012).

If you would like to arrange a speaking event with Sarah and Shane, please email Jen.


Recent interviews:


More About the Book

A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran
Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 2014)
Three Americans captured by Iranian forces and held in captivity for two years tells their story.

In summer 2009, Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and Sarah Shourd were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan when they unknowingly crossed into Iran and were captured by a border patrol. Accused of espionage, the three Americans ultimately found themselves in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, where they discovered that pooling their strength of will and relying on each other were the only ways they could survive.

In this poignant memoir, “the hikers” finally tell their side of the story. They recount the deception that lured them into Iran in the first place and describe the psychological torment of interrogation and solitary confinement. We follow them as they make surprising alliances with their fellow prisoners and even some of their captors, while their own bonds with each other are tested and deepened. Told through a bold and innovative interweaving of the authors’ three voices, here is a rare glimpse inside Iran and a timeless portrayal of hardship and hope.

The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 18, 2014) and is available at Powells, Amazon, and through independent booksellers. The book was reviewed by Publisher's Weekly in December.


About Sarah Shourd

Sarah Shourd is a writer, educator, Contributing Editor at Solitary Watch, and a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley currently based in Oakland, California. She has focused her human rights advocacy work on combating the widespread use of prolonged solitary confinement in US prisons and jails.
Sarah’s website:


About Shane Bauer

Shane Bauer is an investigative journalist. He has reported from locations such as Iraq, Sudan, Chad, Syria, Yemen, Israel/Palestine, and California’s Pelican Bay supermax prison. He has written for Mother Jones, The Nation, Salon, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and others. He has received the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism, the John Jay/ H.F. Guggenheim Award for Criminal Justice Reporting, and many other national awards. He was also a finalist in the Livingston Award for journalists under 35.
Shane’s website:


What People Are Saying

“Amnesty International USA has been proud to feature Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal as keynote speakers at our 2012 Human Rights Conference in Denver, CO. The harrowing accounts of Sarah , Shane and Josh’s time as prisoners in Iran captivated hundreds of Amnesty International USA activists into stunned silence. Their accounts moved many of our activists to tears, but more importantly into action. The fact that these three activists are still able to campaign to end solitary confinement after their horrendous ordeal speaks volumes to their unbreakable spirit and dedication to social justice for all people.”
— Kalaya’an Mendoza, Amnesty International U.S.A

 “Sarah Shourd spoke at my law school and captivated the audience of law students and activists with the harrowing story of her solitary confinement. She is an outstanding speaker with an amazing story. I recommend Sarah for any type of audience. She has a universal message of hope, survival, and need for change that must be heard.”
— Professor Justin Brooks, Director, California Innocence Project

“Sarah’s is a voice that needs to be heard–it is one of peace, compassion, tolerance, and understanding. She represents the best of her generation: courage in the face of adversity, faith in times of trial, and an unswerving dedication to ‘be the change she wishes to see in the world.”
— Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University, Washington D.C.

 “Sarah is an incredibly passionate and inspirational speaker. Hearing her speak at Notre Dame Academy about her experience in Iran mobilized our students to take action against other injustices.”
— Bonnie Abaunza, Vice President, Remote Control Charitable Foundation

“Sarah Shourd is the only American women who has survived a foreign government kidnapping, then returned to help rescue her husband and friend from the same hands that imprisoned her for over a year. I have seen Sarah’s brave and riveting account of her life-changing experiences in Iran challenge and educate audiences of varied ages and worldviews. It has been a long time since there was a story like this – one that everyone needs to hear.”
— Eric Volz, Managing Director of the David House Agency and author of the critically acclaimed, Gringo Nightmare: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua, St Martin’s Press 2010.