Persepolis author/illustrator to give presentation on campus April 7

Tennessee Tech University will host a speaker who can literally draw a picture of what it was like to be an Iranian girl coming of age during the Islamic Revolution.

Marjane Satrapi, writer and artist of the graphic novel and director of the Oscar-nominated animated feature film Persepolis, will give a presentation at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, in TTU’s Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

A Center Stage event hosted by the TTU President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Satrapi’s appearance is free and open to the public.

“The Commission invited Satrapi because her work helps people in America understand the daily life and dreams of a teenage girl in Iran, not simply as a person far away in a politically charged situation, but as a person who loves and fights with parents, experiences her first romance, buys pop music and struggles to figure out the events around her. The book is enormously popular with students who’ve read it,” said Rita Barnes, director of the Honors Program at TTU.

Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, on the edge of the Caspian Sea, and her graphic novel Persepolis tells the story of her youth in Iran in the 1970s and 80s, of living through the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq.

It’s a book about childhood — one that is both outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable but buffered by a loving family.

Satrapi grew up in Tehran, where she studied at the Lycée Français before leaving for Vienna, then Strasbourg to study decorative arts.

She moved to Paris — where she still lives — in 1997 and was soon introduced into l’Atelier des Vosges, home to many of France’s celebrated comic book artists, where she regaled them with stories of her life — stories of dethroned emperors, suicidal uncles, state-sanctioned whippings and heroes of the revolution.

Persepolis was published in four volumes first, of course, in France, where it was met with enormous critical acclaim, garnered comparison’s to Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and won several prestigious comic book awards. It has since been translated into several other languages and was published in two volumes in the U.S.

Satrapi’s illustrations appear regularly in French newspapers and magazines.

The animated film adaptation of Persepolis, which was released in the U.S. in December 2007, has also garnered huge international acclaim. It won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, was nominated last year for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and won two Cesar Awards (the French version of the Oscars) for Best First Film and Best Adaptation.

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