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2010 ONE BOOK EXPLORES IRAN’S POLITICAL TURMOIL IN GRAPHIC NOVEL MEMOIR
In its eighth consecutive year, One Book examines politics, family, and being true to oneself
PHILADELPHIA, September 15, 2009—The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office today announced the selection of Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis as the 2010 One Book, One Philadelphia featured reading selection. This literacy initiative, now in its eighth year, encourages the entire greater Philadelphia region to come together through reading and discussing a single book. Each year, a featured reading selection inspires more than 100 related programs, panel discussions, screenings, and more.
“The Complete Persepolis is an exciting and timely choice for Philadelphia’s One Book program,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Satrapi’s compelling account of her childhood in Iran and her struggle as an outsider after the Islamic Revolution is an excellent vehicle for Philadelphians to discuss the roles of politics, religion, ethnicity, and family in their own lives.”
To celebrate the announcement of the 2010 featured reading selection, Satrapi will visit the Parkway Central Library on Wednesday, September 23, at 7:30 p.m. for the annual One Book author lecture. Satrapi’s visit also marks the start of the program’s reading period , during which Philadelphians are encouraged to read the featured selection to prepare for participation in the 2010 programming. Running from January through March, the 2010 One Book program will feature thematic discussions, performances, workshops, speakers, and more.
Originally published in France in two volumes, The Complete Persepolis is Satrapi’s poignant, humorous, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during a time of political revolution and repression. An outspoken and imaginative child, Satrapi grappled with understanding the ruling power in her country as she witnessed the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the Islamic Revolution’s triumph, and the chilling impact of war with Iraq. Detailed in black-and-white graphic images and accompanied by brief text, Satrapi’s story continues through her years as a young adult, as she finds her way as an expatriate student in Austria. Her first-person point of view presents readers with a unique glimpse into Iran’s political repression, the inner-workings of a family, and one woman’s experience as an outsider both at home and abroad.
“Given the historically impactful events taking place in Iran today, we believe that this is the optimum time for Philadelphia to be reading The Complete Persepolis,” said Marie Field, Chairperson of One Book, One Philadephia. “Satrapi’s gripping memoir provides a lens for viewing Iran’s past and dramatically demonstrates that the current protests and struggles for freedom and justice in that country have historic precedence with the Iranian people. Such aspirations have particular resonance in Philadelphia, our nation’s ‘cradle of liberty’ and the birthplace of American democracy, and we are proud that Marjane Satrapi will address Philadelphia at the Free Library, just blocks away from Independence Hall and the Constitution Center.”
Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon also commented on her excitement for this year’s selection. “The Complete Persepolis is an intelligent, moving book,” said Reardon. “The 2009 One Book, One Philadelphia season was a wonderful success, and I am certain Philadelphians will be drawn to the subject matter of this year’s selection. It also marks the first time a graphic novel has been selected for the One Book, One Philadelphia program. By juxtaposing narrative with imagery, Satrapi provides us with two channels in which to experience her story. This combination will certainly lead to thought-provoking programming and discussions!”
Founded in 2003 by the Free Library and the Mayor’s Office, One Book motivates tens of thousands of people annually to read a featured selection and participate in related discussions, events, workshops, classes, and more. All Free Library locations will have copies of The Complete Persepolis, as well as a children’s companion book which will be announced at a later date.
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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.
Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
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