Marjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی [mæɾˈʤɒːn(-e) sɒːtɾɒːˈpiː]; born 22 November 1969) is an Iranian-born Frenchgraphic novelist, cartoonist, illustrator, film director, and children’s book author. Her best-known works include the graphic novel Persepolis and its film adaptation, the graphic novel Chicken with Plums, and the Marie Curie biopic Radioactive.
Satrapi was born in Rasht, Iran. She grew up in Tehran in a middle-class Iranian family and attended the French-language school, Lycée Razi. Both her parents were politically active and supported Marxist causes against the monarchy of the last Shah. When the Iranian Revolution took place in 1979, they underwent rule by the Muslim fundamentalists who took power.
During her youth, Satrapi was exposed to the growing brutalities of the various regimes. Many of her family friends were persecuted, arrested, and even murdered. She found a hero in her paternal uncle, Anoosh, who had been a political prisoner and lived in exile in the Soviet Union for a time. Young Satrapi greatly admired her uncle, and he in turn doted on her, treating her more as a daughter than a niece. Once back in Iran, Anoosh was arrested again and sentenced to death. Anoosh was only allowed one visitor the night before his execution, and he requested Satrapi. His body was buried in an unmarked grave in the prison. It is said that Anoosh was the nephew of Fereydun Ebrahimi, Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan People’s Government, a secessionist government that tried to secede from Pahlavi Persia in 1945.
Although Satrapi’s parents encouraged her to be strong-willed and defend her rights, they grew concerned for her safety. Barely in her teens by this time, she was skirting trouble with police for disregarding modesty codes and buying music banned by the regime.
She stayed in Vienna through her high school years, often moving from one residence to another as situations changed, and sometimes stayed at friends’ homes. Eventually, she was homeless and lived on the streets for three months, until she was hospitalized for an almost deadly bout of pneumonia.
She then moved to Strasbourg, France. Her parents told her that Iran was no longer the place for her, and encouraged her to stay in Europe permanently.
“Marjane Satrapi.” Wikipedia, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjane_Satrapi. Accessed 22 Apr. 2022.
Interview with Marjane Satrapi:
What led you to write about growing up in Iran in the late 1970s and the period after that? The first time I left Iran for Austria I was 14 (that was 1984), and I heard people with all kinds of prejudices-especially about countries like mine. It was really the most sensational stuff.