In 1997, Satrapi moved to Paris, where she met Christophe Blain, who brought her into l’Atelier des Vosges, home to many of France’s celebrated "new wave" of comic book artists. There, she regaled her fellow artists with amazing stories of her family—stories of dethroned emperors, suicidal uncles, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution—in short, the details of daily life in contemporary Iran. After listening to her stories and seeing her drawings, they kept asking why she was waiting to put her life in the pages of a comic book.
Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi’s youth in Iran in the 1970s and 80s, of living through the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq. It is a book about childhood, a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary—beset by the unthinkable, but buffered by an extraordinary and loving family. Persepolis was published in four volumes in France, where it met with enormous critical acclaim. It has been translated into more than forty languages and an award-winning animated film. Marjane Satrapi’s other books include Embroideries and Chicken with Plums. Satrapi is also the author of several children’s books, including Monsters are Afraid of the Moon.
Marjane Satrapi lives in Paris, where her illustrations appear regularly in newspapers and magazines all around the world.
Why were you attracted to the graphic novel art form?
Well for me, who is someone who cannot choose between writing and drawing, it was the best way of expressing myself. And I enjoyed doing it for a long time very much, but it’s very solitary. And now the love of my life is the cinema, and maybe in three years it will be something else. But I don’t have any career plans like, oh, I will do this or that. Life is too short and we cannot spoil it. I don’t have 300 years in front of me. So I just do the things that I really want to do at the moment because that’s the only way you will do them well. If you don’t believe in yourself, it won’t work. Because creation, you know, it means that you don’t have any salary, you don’t have any retirement, all of that. So if you don’t have the security, at least have the freedom. I go for the freedom.