Marjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی) (born November 22, 1969 in Rasht, Iran) is an Iranian-born French[1][2] contemporary graphic novelist, illustrator, animated film director, and children's book author. Apart from her native language Persian, she speaks English, Swedish, German, French and Italian.[3]


Satrapi grew up in Tehran in a family which was involved with communist and socialist movements in Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution. She attended the Lycée Français there and witnessed, as a child, the growing suppression of civil liberties and the everyday-life consequences of Iranian politics, including the fall of the Shah, the early regime of Ruhollah Khomeini, and the first years of the Iran–Iraq War. She experienced an Iraqi air raid and Scud missile attacks on Tehran. According to Persepolis, one Scud hit the house next to hers, killing her friend.

Satrapi's family are of distant Iranian Azeri ancestry and are descendants of Nasser al-Din Shah, Shah of Persia from 1848 until 1896. Satrapi said that "But you have to know the kings of the Qajar dynasty, they had hundreds of wives. They made thousands of kids. If you multiply these kids by generation you have, I don't know, 10-15,000 princes [and princesses]. There's nothing extremely special about that."[4] She added that due to this detail, most Iranian families would be, in the words of Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian, "blue blooded."[5]

In 1983, at the age of fourteen, Satrapi was sent to Vienna, Austria by her parents in order to flee the Iranian regime. There she attended the Lycée Français de Vienne.[6] According to her autobiographical graphic novel, Persepolis, she stayed in Vienna through her high school years, staying in friends' homes, but spent two months living on the streets. After an almost deadly bout of pneumonia, she returned to Iran. She studied visual communication, eventually obtaining a master's degree from Islamic Azad University in Tehran.[7]

During this time, Satrapi went to numerous illegal parties hosted by her friends, where she met a man named Reza, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War. She married him at the age of 21, but divorced him roughly three years later. Satrapi then moved to Strasbourg, France.

Satrapi is married to Mattias Ripa, a Swedish national.[8] They have no children, and they live in Paris.[5]


Graphic novelsEdit

Satrapi's career began in earnest when she met David Beauchard, a French comics artist who became her mentor and teacher.[9] Satrapi became famous worldwide because of her critically acclaimed autobiographical graphic novels, originally published in French in four parts in 2000–2003 and in English translation in two parts in 2003 and 2004, respectively, as Persepolis and Persepolis 2, which describe her childhood in Iran and her adolescence in Europe. Persepolis won the Angoulême Coup de Coeur Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Her later publication, Embroideries (Broderies) was also nominated for the Angoulême Album of the Year award in 2003, an award which was won by her most recent novel, Chicken with Plums (Poulet aux prunes).[10][11] She has also contributed to the Op-Ed section of The New York Times.[12]


Persepolis was adapted into an animated film of the same name which debuted at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in May 2007 and shared a Special Jury Prize with Silent Light (Luz silenciosa) by Carlos Reygadas.[13] Co-written and co-directed by Satrapi and director Vincent Paronnaud, the French-language picture stars the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, and Simon Abkarian. The English version, starring the voices of Gena Rowlands, Sean Penn, and Iggy Pop, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in January 2008.[14]

Persepolis was a very successful film both commercially (with over a million admissions in France alone) as well as critically, winning the Best First Film at the 2008 French César awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars). As such the film reflects many tendencies of first-time filmmaking in France (which makes up around 40% of all French cinema each year), notably in its focus on very intimate rites-of-passage, and quite ambivalently recounted coming-of-age moments.[15]

Satrapi and Paronnaud continued their successful collaboration with a second film, a live-action adaptation of Chicken with Plums, released in late 2011.[16][17]

Public appearancesEdit

Following the Iranian elections in June 2009, Marjane Satrapi and Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf appeared before Green Party members in the European Parliament to present a document allegedly received from a member of the Iranian electoral commission claiming that the reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had actually won the election, and that the conservative incumbent Mahmoud Ahmedinejad had received only 12% of the vote.[18]



  • Persepolis (2000), Paris: L'Association
  • Persepolis v2, (2001), L'Association
  • Persepolis v3, (2002), L'Association
  • Persepolis v4, (2003), L'Association
  • Sagesses et malices de la Perse (2001)
  • Les monstres n'aiment pas la lune (2001) Nathan Jeunesse
  • Ulysse au pays des fous (2001) Nathan Jeunesse,
  • Adjar (2002) Nathan Jeunesse
  • Broderies (2003) L'Association
  • Poulet aux prunes (2004), Paris: L'Association
  • Le Soupir (2004) Bréal Jeunesse


  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (2003), New York: Pantheon Books
  • Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return v2, (2004)
  • Embroideries (2005) Pantheon Books
  • Chicken with Plums (2006), Pantheon Books
  • Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon (2006) Bloomsbury
  • The Sigh (2012) Archaia.


  • 2001: Angoulême Coup de Coeur Award for Persepolis[19]
  • 2002: Angoulême Prize for Scenario for Persepolis: Tome 2[20]
  • 2005: Angoulême Best Comic Book Award for Poulet aux prunes[11]
  • 2007: Jury Prize for Persepolis (tied with Silent Light), Cannes Film Festival[13]
  • 2007: Best Animation: Los Angeles Film Critics Association[14]
  • 2008: Cinema for Peace Award for "Most Valuable Movie of the Year"
  • 2008: Gat Perich Award
  • 2009: Doctor honoris causa both at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Université catholique de Louvain from Belgium[21]

Further readingEdit

  • Chute, Hilary L., Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010

External linksEdit


  1. J’ai été très bien accueillie et je n’oublierai jamais que j’ai été naturalisée grâce à Jack Lang.Abusdecine perse les secrets de « Persepolis »
  2. Vingt-deux films pour une palme d'Or
  3. Author Bio: Marjane Satrapi Michael Schwartz Library: Cleveland State University
  4. "A Life in Graphic Detail The Boston Globe
  5. 5.0 5.1 Confessions of Miss Mischief The Guardian
  6. Bédarida, Catherine. "Marjane Satrapi dessine la vie de l'Iran." Le Monde. 25 June 2003. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  7. A Reader's Guide to Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis
  8. IMDb Biography
  9. "This Sweet Sickness" New York Magazine
  10. Les nominés d’Angoulême 2003
  11. 11.0 11.1 32ème Festival International D'Angouleme
  12. NYTimes Contributors search
  13. 13.0 13.1 {{Festival de Cannes: Persepolis
  14. 14.0 14.1 Persepolis (2007) NYT Critics' Pick The New York Times
  15. Palmer, Tim (2011). Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing Contemporary French Cinema, Wesleyan University Press, Middleton CT.
  16. Poulet aux prunes AlloCiné
  17. Chicken with Plums: Venice Film Review Hollywood Reporter
  18. Iranian author Marjane Satrapi speaks out about election The Los Angeles Times
  19. Comic Book Awards Almanac
  20. Angoulême 2002: les lauréats ActuaBD
  21. KUL en UCL reiken samen eredoctoraten (KUL and UCL award honorary doctorates together)
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