For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


The Free Library of Philadelphia’s signature literacy program kicks off with a celebration of the 2010 centerpiece, The Complete Persepolis

PHILADELPHIA, January 20, 2010—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the eighth annual One Book, One Philadelphia program this evening at the Parkway Central Library with a special event celebrating the 2010 featured reading selection, The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

A graphic novel and memoir, The Complete Persepolis is an account of Satrapi’s childhood and adolescence in Iran during the tumultuous years following the overthrow of the Shah and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. The coming-of-age story highlights the contradictions between private and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high-school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. At once heartbreaking and heartwarming, this candid memoir brings history to life and provides a timely perspective on the background and context of the current struggle unfolding in Iran.

The evening began with opening remarks by Free Library of Philadelphia President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon, who invited Bill Sasso, Chair of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Board of Directors, to speak. Sasso recognized the sponsors of this year’s program, including primary sponsors PECO, the Lenfest Foundation, and Patricia and John Imbesi of the North American Beverage Company.

One Book, One Philadelphia Chair Marie Field also spoke on the importance of this year’s program for the Philadelphia community. “As in previous years, in fulfillment of our mission to promote reading, literacy, library usage, and community throughout Greater Philadelphia, One Book will provide a rich, stimulating, interactive variety of programming designed to add to our knowledge of Persian culture, our understanding of Iranian history and politics, and our appreciation of the graphic novel and cartooning. We encourage everyone in Philadelphia to read the book, join in the conversation, and participate in as many of the events as possible.

Speaking from her home in Paris, author Satrapi greeted the crowd at Parkway Central and discussed her excitement about The Complete Persepolis being chosen as the 2010 featured reading selection.

During “A Journey to Iran through Music,” Udi Bar David (Philadelphia Orchestra cellist and Director of Intercultural Journeys) and Kazem Davoudian (Iranian composer and santur virtuoso) took the stage in Montgomery Auditorium. Following the cultural performance, Parkway Central featured a screening of the acclaimed film adaptation of The Complete Persepolis.

Tonight’s event was one of more than 160 engaging, entertaining, and educational programs that will take place through March 17. Book and film discussions; Persian craft workshops; political, religious, and historical presentations; and musical performances are just some of the wide variety of events offered this year.

Two companion books for young readers and teenagers are also a part of the program. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís is recommended for children and family reading, and Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood—part one of Satrapi’s original two-volume series—is recommended for teens.

The One Book website at is devoted to more resources, including downloadable discussion guides, recommended reading lists, event calendars, and more.

Additional One Book sponsors include: the Verizon Foundation; Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young, LLP; 1706 Rittenhouse Square; Pepper Hamilton, LLP; The Hassel Foundation; the Cassett Foundation; McCarter and English, LLP; the Sloane Foundation; Kathy and Paul Addis; Susan and Bart Winokur; and Jeanette and Herbert Evert. One Book media partners include WHYY, Philadelphia City Paper, Philebrity, Harmelin Media, and Keystone Outdoor.

About the Author
Marjane Satrapi was born in Rasht, Iran, and now lives in Paris, where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers across the globe, including the New Yorker and the New York Times. She is the author of Embroideries, Chicken with Plums, and several children's books. Satrapi's autobiographical account of her childhood during and after the Islamic Revolution was first published in France, where it was met with enormous critical acclaim, garnered comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, and won several prestigious graphic novel awards. She co-wrote and co-directed the animated feature film adaption of Persepolis.

About One Book, One Philadelphia
Founded in 2003 by the Free Library and the Mayor’s Office, One Book motivates tens of thousands of people to read the featured selection and participate in discussions, events, workshops, classes, and more. All Free Library locations have copies of The Complete Persepolis, as well as the two companion books, Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, free to be borrowed with a Library card. One Book, One Philadelphia runs from January 20 through March 17, 2010. For related resources, event listings, and recommended reading, visit

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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 6 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
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850