Persepolis is the official selection of One Book Philadelphia in 2010.
Persepolis is the official selection of One Book Philadelphia in 2010.

The One Book, One Philadelphia Selection Committee has chosen Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis as the featured selection for 2010. 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.

One Book, One Philadelphia is a joint project of the Mayor’s Office and the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes reading, literacy, library use, and community building by motivating tens of thousands of people to read an annual featured selection. Marking the eighth consecutive year for One Book, the 2010 program runs from January 20 to March 17, 2010.

In addition to the featured reading selection, a companion book for children and family reading will be offered for the fourth year in a row, and One Film will feature a thematically related film. These selections will be announced shortly.

Hundreds of community partners have contributed resources and will be developing programs to facilitate the success of One Book, One Philadelphia. We thank our sponsors and partners for their tremendous support.

Stay tuned for a complete list of One Book, One Philadelphia events, suggested supplemental reading and film lists, a comprehensive Resource Guide, and much more!

The Complete Persepolis

The Complete Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trails of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom—The Complete Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

Marjane Satrapi

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. Persepolis, 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 comic book awards. She co-wrote and co-directed the animated feature film adaption of Persepolis.

To accompany this reading One Book, One Philadelphia has mapped out an eight week series of events from January 20th through March 17, 2010. Here’s a look at some of the events that will be featured.

One Book, One Philadelphia Kick-Off Event: A Journey to Iran through Music, Featuring Intercultural Journeys and a Screening of Persepolis

When: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 7:30PM
Where: Central Library

Join us for an exciting performance by Udi Bar David, Philadelphia Orchestra cellist and Director of Intercultural Journeys, and Kazem Davoudian, Iranian composer and santur virtuoso. Also appearing will be daf and tonbak musician Kave Mazhari. The evening will feature a special greeting from author Marjane Satrapi and will conclude with a screening of her acclaimed film adaptation of The Complete Persepolis. This event will take place in The Montgomery Auditorium.

Walls and Wings: A Clay Workshop Inspired by The Wall
When: Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 10:00AM
Where: The Clay Studio School, 139 N. Second St.

This workshop will focus on themes of freedom and oppression. Workshop participants will engage in an age-appropriate conversation about the value of artistic expression while creating ceramic pieces that reinforce that ideal. All work will be fired and ready to take home by February 6. This workshop is for children ages 4 and older; children must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited, and registration is required. Register online at or call Joanie at 215-925-3453 x 11. $10 for one adult and one child.

Sudden Stories Workshop
When: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 3:00PM
Where: Drexel Writing Center, MacAlister Hall, Basement, 3250 Chestnut Street.

Join the Drexel Writing Program in this three part creative writing workshop where themes from Persepolis will be used to write “Sudden Stories.” Sudden stories are exceptionally brief stories, some only a paragraph or two, usually 350 words or less. Participants will pair with trained peer readers who will provide feedback for revising their stories. Interested participants can have their revised stories entered into national Sudden Story writing contests and campus publications. This event will take place Wednesdays, January 27 through February 10, 3:00 p.m. 215-895-6485

Psychological Perspectives on the People of Iran
When: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 7:00PM
Where: Central Library

Marguerite Del Giudice, author of National Geographic cover story”Ancient Soul of Iran,” will present a psychological portrait of the people of Iran. The award-winning journalist will cover topics such as: what the Iranians’ driving habits can tell you about what drives them; how central the idea of pretending is to Iranian life; ubiquitous spying and the culture of conspiracy and paranoia that has resulted; and tortured relationships between the sexes. This event will take place ing Room 108.

Persepolis Junto
When: Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 6:00PM
Where: P’unk Avenue, 1168 E. Passyunk Ave.

The Junto ( is a regular gathering of people to discuss topics of interest in an intimate studio setting. It is a revival of “a club that was established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin for mutual improvement.” Join Junto regulars for a discussion about Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis. Be prepared for an open discussion with food and cheer. (215)-755-1330

Comic Book Fair
When: Now through Saturday, February 6, 2010
Where: Central Library

Find out what’s new in the world of graphic novels and comics, and take home one of your own when Philadelphia comic vendors showcase their wares. This event will take place ing The Main Lobby.

Tell and Show: A Group Exhibition of Philadelphia Comic Artists
When: Monday, February 8, 2010 at 12:00PM
Where: The Green Line Cafe, 4239 Baltimore Avenue

Curated by Pete Stathis, a nationally-recognized comic artist, “Tell and Show” will feature hand-inked story panels from his graphic novel “Evenfall,” along with panels by several other Philadelphia based comic artists. This focused group show will demonstrate various ways to narrate through the combination of text and image. February 8 – April 2, 2010. 215-222-3431.

Why Comic Books Make Us Human: A History of Visual
When: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 12:20PM
Where: Community College Of Philadelphia, Winnet Building, 1700 Spring Garden st.

Anthropologist Louise Krasniewicz will explore the history of sequential image making from Paleolithic cave art to present-day graphic novels and comic books. Her richly illustrated talk, which also touches on Egyptian tomb paintings, Medieval tapestries, Maya codices, and African carved tusks, will explore the idea that humans have made sequential art for millennia and that this kind of visual storytelling may be a defining quality of human narratives.

What is the REAL Persepolis?
When: Now through Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Where: Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St.

Penn Museum will offer an archaeologist’s perspective on The Complete Persepolis. Explore why Persepolis, originally built in 515 B.C. and an UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iran, is the title of the award-winning graphic novel memoir. Dyson Assistant Curator Lauren Ristvet will share her thoughts, as well as more information about the important Iranian site. The event will conclude with an optional short tour of the Museum’s Islamic gallery, which features a variety of Iranian pieces. Admission is “pay-what-you-want.”

Celebrate Norooz
When: Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 10:30AM
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway

Celebrate Norooz, a festival of new life observed by Persians, Tajiks, Afghans, Uzbeks, Kurds, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, and Azerbaijanis. The Nomad Dancers, joined by local children’s Persian dance groups Rangeen Kaman and Mainline Performing Arts, will entertain through costumes, stories, and music. Witness the Sofreh Haft Sîn, the ceremonial table of the New Year, a Parsee Navroz presentation, and demonstrations by local artists and community members. A local cartoonist will show participants how to tell stories in this exciting medium, and you can finish the day by creating Norooz-inspired craft programs in the Make-and-Take Workshop.

One Book, One Philadelphia Closing Event: Philadelphia’s Golha
When: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 7:30PM
Where: Central Library

In 1956, Iranians were reintroduced to their artistic and cultural heritage through a series of radio programs known as the Golha. Each week, the foremost Iranian musicians, vocalists, literary critics, poets, and radio announcerswere invited to perform a selection of the best modern and classical music and poems. Join The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in celebrating Persepolis through a unique live recreation of one of these radio programs, which will provide a cultural context for Marjane Sartrapi’s childhood experiences. Author Marjane Satrapi will share a message from her home in Paris to share a few words about the Golha and her experience as a One Book, One Philadelphia author. This event will take place in The Montgomery Auditorium.

For a complete listing of events check out the Calendar.

Community The One Book, One Philadelphia Selection Committee Selects Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete...