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Announcements > Questions for Marjane Satrapi!

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma Watson (emmawatsonbookclub) | 49 comments Mod
Exciting news! I will be interviewing Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, for Vogue.com in a couple of weeks. If you have any questions post them here and I will ask her as many as I can. Emma x

message 2: by Christine (last edited Jun 30, 2016 02:11AM) (new)

Christine Periña | 67 comments This was my first time to read a graphic novel and I can say that Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is really awesome! I see myself throughout this book maybe because I'm also living in Asia (Particularly in the Philippines) so I'm totally engaged with the story.

So my question is:
1. Was there a point which you knew you wanted to draw a memoir?

2.Whom do you think is described as the bigger enemy in the novel -- the Shah or the Islamic regime that takes control after the Shah?

3. In the novel's first scene, you shows a photo of your elementary school class. You, however, is cut out of the picture. Why does you begin the novel with this imagery?

Christine x

message 3: by Shana (new)

Shana Kaplan (sek1128) | 93 comments Wonderful news about the interview.

I don't usually read graphic novels. Though as a former teacher of students who were extremely visual learners, reading graphic novels was very helpful for comprehension.

I am curious to know why Ms Satrapi decided on expressing her autobiography visually in a graphic novel format?

Thanking you in advance for answering my question.



message 4: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh Hyatt (achyatt) | 18 comments Because you used a graphic novel format, the illustrations become part of the literary analysis. Why did you choose to use black and white illustrations, and how do you think readers respond to the simple illustrations in contrast to the story itself?


message 5: by Mahima (last edited Jun 09, 2016 12:03AM) (new)

Mahima Pradhan The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4) by Marjane Satrapi
That's great news! I'll get to connect with the authors at last! Thanks Emma!

So my questions to Marjane Satrapi are-

1. During your childhood, you belonged to a well-off family. What were the problems faced by girls and women who were not so privileged?

2. As you have mentioned in your book, you wanted to become the Prophet. You also mentioned imagining other Prophets being astonished about a woman being the last Prophet. Was it that you too were a bit inclined towards male superiority during your childhood? Was it social pressure that made you have such a mindset?

3. If, possibly, you had had become the Prophet, what would you have done to promote freedom and emancipation for women?

4. What changes have you noticed in Iran in the past few years? Are women more liberated now than they were before?

Mahima Pradhan, India

Hope my questions get answered. Will be waiting eagerly!

message 6: by Whitney (new)

Whitney (whitney6497) | 1 comments I enjoyed Persepolis immensely. Thank you for sharing your story.

Throughout the novel you show much love for your country, but are disappointed in the political trajectory. What is your hope for the people / women of Iran and what do you think is achievable?

message 7: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Hi all, just wanted to pop in to remind everyone that Emma and her team will have to sort through these questions and it will be helpful if duplicate questions are avoided, so we recommend you read through questions posted by other members. It may even inspire you to think of additional questions!

Thanks for your help!

message 8: by Juan (new)

Juan | 14 comments Hi Emma, if you could ask Marjane one of these questions I would be really grateful.

Looking at your home country of Iran, do you believe that there are social conditions for women in Iran to be less restricted in their lives so they can eventually have a life with equal opportunities to men?

Graphic novel have often gotten the reputation of not being a part of real literature, that the drawings take away the magic of imagination. What arguments would you give to people to help them understand that graphic novels are a different type of literature that is also informative, attractive and exciting like a novel?

message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Faltesek | 17 comments What affected me the most deeply about the novel was the way in which war and oppression affect children; the things that they are forced to witness, the situations they learn to adapt to, and the social restrictions they are forced to grow under. When I read about war zones, refugee camps, and civilizations under despotic or totalitarian control, I think about the young people- what lives had they imagines for themselves which might now be impossible?
The story of the boys being given gold plastic keys at school will never leave me.
What opportunities for self-expression do you see among young people who live in these circumstances today? Do you feel that the innate ability of children to adapt to their surroundings can be an advantage in these situations, or is it only to their detriment?

message 10: by Danaë (new)

Danaë  (goodreadscomdana_erwanna) | 5 comments Emma wrote: "Exciting news! I will be interviewing Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, for Vogue.com in a couple of weeks. If you have any questions post them here and I will ask her as many as I can. Emma x"

message 11: by Britta (new)

Britta Johnson (brittaj65) I noticed that the main character in this book experienced different sorts of struggles simply due to being female depending on her location. For example, outside or inside, in Austria or Iran, with friends or family, etc. Struggles I never imagined one person could bear together, I often thought of these struggles as being different experiences by different women. What topics in feminism do you feel get overlooked because most of the talking figures in feminism do not have (or been exposed to) such experiences simultaneously?

message 12: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Marjane, having seen both worlds what do you see and the biggest differences and similarity's between the west and the middle east

Where do you see women in the efforts to bring the sides closer together.

message 13: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin Rice (caito1055) | 3 comments Hello Emma,

I have a couple of questions for Marjane Satrapi about globalization and her Grandmother's advice...

1. This is kind of a broad question but given your experience with this issue, how do you think societies can maintain a good balance between globalization and protecting aspects of one's heritage/culture?

2. Your grandmother told you to "always keep your dignity and be true to yourself." It's hard to do that and figure out what being true to yourself means. Especially for young women who grew up in a war torn country or feel torn between keeping their traditions vs. assimilating into different societies. What advice would you give to them?

I can't wait to read the Q&A! This is a great book.

message 14: by Tesnim (new)

Tesnim | 2 comments Persepolis is one of the best books I've ever read! I've also watched the movie and I love it!
Here are my questions for Marjane Satrapi:
1. Having lived in Iran and Europe, you've seen the best and worst of both worlds. So what is your opinion on mainstream media sometimes overlooking/not focusing enough on the issues of third world countries' women? Also, what do you think of what some people call "first world feminism"?
2. With the growth of the social media effect on our lives, some Iranian millennials find refuge in it and use it to express themselves freely and make small changes within society. Do you think that is a spark for change and a better future for the country?
3. As an author and an artist, what are the main issues that you may have faced just because you're a woman?
And finally
4. Do you still have those teachers' sketches that you used to draw during class?

message 15: by Maika (new)

Maika | 36 comments Marjane,

Europe is nowadays facing a huge educational/sanitary problems with the arrival of war immigrants. Sometimes, like in France, immigrants have to stay in slum areas, underage children have to live outside or in squats because they don't have enough money to go to school and rent an appartment.

Seeing the number of war immigrants increasing this last months, and with your personnal experience as immigrant, what advices could you give to European Governments to facilitate their integration and propose better live conditions?


message 16: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (awellreadlife) | 1 comments In Persepolis, one of the 'characters' says, "As long as there is oil in Iran there will never be peace." For me, this is one of the most moving lines from your story and I'm still thinking about it, days after reading it. Do you think it's possible for Iran, after such a rocky history, to finally achieve peace? Do you think that the people today are better equipped for social change in their country?

message 17: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando What will Iran be like in a few years and in twenty years? What changes do you wish would happen in Iran?

message 18: by María (new)

María  (mariadashwood) One of the things I love the most about the novel is the way you relate the huge culture shock you experienced while you were living in Austria and the reverse culture shock when you were back in Iran. The feeling of not belonging to either, being "a westerner in Iran, an Iranian in the West”. I think this is beautifully and carefully told throughout the novel. So, how was it the second time you migrated to Europe? Do you still experience a bit of a culture shock sometimes?

message 19: by Solveig (new)

Solveig | 1 comments Persepolis was such a wonderful book! Thanks to Our Shared Shelf and Emma for introducing me to it!
Here are my questions for Marjane Satrapi:

In what way have your religious beliefs changed since you were ten and wanted to be a prophet?

Most religions - at least in the way they are interpreted, but not necessarily in an extremist form - seem to discriminate against women.
Would you agree with the claim that a world, free of religion, would be a better place - especially for women?

message 20: by Dilshad (new)

Dilshad | 1 comments Persepolis is my first Graphic Novel and I couldn't have chosen a better one ! Many thanks to Our Shared Shelf and Emma ! xo

Marjane, thank you for writing this ! Being of Persian roots ( Zoroastrian ancestors ) reading this has been very poignant indeed.

I'd like to know what advice would you give the 12 year old and 18 year old Marjane if you could ?

I have never visited Iran, only read and heard stories .

If you could tell me, a woman who has never been to Iran but has Iran in her genes and in her roots, one thing about Iran , what would it be ?

Thank you for your time ! xo

message 21: by Bivisyani (new)

Bivisyani Questibrilia (alivegurl) | 2 comments Oh wow, been waiting for this chance for a while. Here goes:

Have you ever received criticism from fellow Iranians regarding your books? If yes, how do you deal with them?

Thanks, Emma! :)

message 22: by Carrie (new)

Carrie | 2 comments Thank you for this opportunity! Persepolis was the first graphic novel I ever read, back in college, and it blew my mind, both in style and content. I LOVED it!

My question -
What is the number one thing that can be changed in the world today to positively affect women? Both on a global scale, and on a personal scale (what can each of us do)?

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Ashlee wrote: "Because you used a graphic novel format, the illustrations become part of the literary analysis. Why did you choose to use black and white illustrations, and how do you think readers respond to the..."

Additionally, is your choice of formats intended to appeal to a specific audience, i.e., young people? Do you feel your target audience would be more receptive to your message?

message 24: by Jessica (The Mortal Jessica) (last edited Jun 08, 2016 08:58PM) (new)

Jessica (The Mortal Jessica) (jessicapaigee_) | 4 comments Oh this is a good idea! I've been so excited to read Persepolis, I've wanted to read it since I've seen a lot of people on booktube talk about it. Now that I'm part of this book club it'll give me a chance to jump on board!

1. What made you feel like your story needed to be told?

2. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Thank you! :)

message 25: by Vishnu (new)

Vishnu Prakash | 4 comments Thank you Emma for giving us an opportunity..
My questions for Marjane are :

1. How much did the Iran of your childhood differ from the Iran after the Arab spring was suppressed?

2. What do you think about 'My stealthy freedom' and Iranian women's fight against oppression?

message 26: by Nina (new)

Nina Pantelic | 1 comments To Satrapi:

As someone who grew up living in two different countries, I constantly found myself having to defend who I was and where I came from to (mostly) well-meaning but often ignorant outsiders. What are some of the most ridiculous questions you were asked about Iran growing up abroad?

message 27: by Marta (new)

Marta Brebner | 1 comments If you could go back in time to 1979 and spend 5 minutes with Ayatollah Khomeini, what would you say to him to try to convince him he's wrong?

message 28: by Basilisk (new)

Basilisk | 3 comments Firstly, I would like to appreciate people standing up for fixing an immorality. Also, I wanted to ask someone who has undoubtedly faced and braved the indignation of gender stereotypes, hailing from a background somewhat similar, what does one do to ingrain this beautiful thought of gender equality in people's minds whilst at the same time, have the nerve to withstand their despondent responses and immature implications. My respect, Marjane. Basil.

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

That's exciting news indeed, can't wait for the interview.

message 30: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Catalano Shana wrote: "Wonderful news about the interview.

I don't usually read graphic novels. Though as a former teacher of students who were extremely visual learners, reading graphic novels was very helpful for com..."

This would have been my question, too!

message 31: by Francine (new)

Francine | 6 comments Fantastic book and what a great opportunity to interact with the author! Thank you to all those involved!

As an immigrant, I found myself identifying with various parts of the story. I was born and raised in Brazil but I have Italian ancestors and was educated in the UK where I now live permanently. I would like to ask how do you juggle your Iranian nationality and upbringing with your sense of belonging and being educated in Europe? How have you dealt with the compromises you had to make along the way (such as being away from your family)? And if you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?

Thank you!

message 32: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Liu | 2 comments This is a phenomenal book, and I never imagined that I would ever read a graphic novel, much less in one sitting! There are times this becomes a bit difficult to read because of the amount of violence that the author has seen.

I have two questions for the author.

What made you decide to write a graphic memoir rather than just a memoir?

You've mentioned many times of the strength that your family has given you. How did your mother and grandmother find the strength to consistenly be strong feminist figures despite the restrictions from the government?

Thank you so much!

message 33: by Shashank (last edited Jun 12, 2016 08:46AM) (new)

Shashank Sm | 2 comments Thank you Emma for giving us an opportunity.
1. What changes have you seen since the revolution and what changes would you want to happen in iran?
2. Why is there still a social class problem in iran as mentioned in your novel and how would you want to implement it?
3. How do you think is the mindset of youngsters of Iran, 35 years ago and in the present?
4. Have you seen people being punished in any other parts of the world like in Iran?If yes which country?

message 34: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Evseichik | 2 comments Thank you for this opportunity!!

My question is: In what ways do you carry the child/young adult represented in the book in your life today?

Such a delight to know her story, thank you again!

message 35: by Harm (new)

Harm ten Napel (hnapel) | 94 comments The question is: You're pretty lenient on the Ayatollah's or rather: you don't mention or draw them, is this a way to avoid their fatwahs or out of sheer contempt or for any other reason?

message 36: by Leda (last edited Jun 09, 2016 03:25PM) (new)

Leda | 11 comments 1) One of the hardest things one immigrant has to deal with is the loss of their home (family+country). What gave you hope at those times of difficulty?

2) Did you refuse immediately to wear the veil in your childhood? Could you share with us your (at that time) thoughts?

3) How can the situation in Iran change so as people, especially women, gain more freedom?

4) How can we make western people more aware of all the problems Iran and its neighbouring countries are facing? How can we make them care more?

Thank you very much!!

message 37: by Bree (new)

Bree Bolton (breebolton) This book was a wonderful reintroduction into the world of graphic novels and I'm so excited to potentially get to a ask the author something. Marjane, your childhood and adolescence were difficult to read about, let alone love through. How do you think your experiences, in Iran and possibly elsewhere, had you grown up in a lower class? The quality of your education would have been different, but do you think you still would have been able to read higher-level texts and educate yourself? How do you think you would react to what girls your age of lower socioeconomic status had to deal with?

message 38: by Anon (last edited Jun 09, 2016 06:56PM) (new)

Anon (trayortzrale) | 1 comments Question about her writing "Once again, I arrived at my usual conclusion: one must educate oneself". Can you elaborate on that, based on your experience? What to educate oneself in and how to?

How has that process of education changed for you through the years?

message 39: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments Just a suggestion: Can you please suggest Vogue to include name of the person who posed the question and the person's nationality, unless the person doesn't want to be named?

"Credit where due" is my maxim and also readers of Vogue will be able to appreciate the global reach of OSS as will Marjane.

Still thinking about what to ask, and must say there are already a lot of intelligent questions posed.

message 40: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Hedgcock | 1 comments Your family played a huge role in Persepolis as it was a story of you growing up. Has any of your family read Persepolis and if so what were their reactions to it?

message 41: by C. Ortiz (new)

C. Ortiz | 2 comments I believe is was an amazing idea to write your story as a graphic novel, it very clearly conveyed to the audiences the clear struggles of women living within the regime and the warped gender norms of Iran. It left the door open for other cultures to relate in a sense to the struggles for women's rights all around the world.

Did you think that your books would be this successful? Has your family read it? What were their thoughts? What activism work have you been doing to perhaps help show women all around the world as well as your hometown the need for gender equality?

It was from your books that I developed a strong sense of activism towards feminist rights. I thank you for your wisdom and for sharing your experience.

message 42: by Holly (last edited Jun 14, 2016 09:35AM) (new)

Holly Day | 3 comments Marjane Satrapi,

It was completely intriguing to me how you were able to give such a weighted and scary account with the humor you did. It's not at all what I expected the book to be like! I have been curious for a while about the history of Iran and its wars. But there's so much information that it can seem really daunting and I don't know where to start. I live in America and there is so much hate and judgement for people who live in the Middle East. The media fuels the fire. Do you have advice on where to begin learning about the culture so that I can open my eyes even more and intelligently stop prejudices I hear from others?


message 43: by Sascha (new)

Sascha | 391 comments I would be interested to know from Marjane Satrapi:

* As a teenager you have identified with the Punk rebellion. But as you grew older, you have distanced yourself from Punk. What did Punk mean to you as a teenager and what is your attitude towards Punk today? Why did you disconnect from your Punk attitude?

* What does anarchism mean to you? Do you think the world would be a better place if people turned to an anarchist society?

* "If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your Revolution" (Emma Goldman) - any thoughts and/or feelings about this quote?

message 44: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Ashwin wrote: "Just a suggestion: Can you please suggest Vogue to include name of the person who posed the question and the person's nationality, unless the person doesn't want to be named?

"Credit where due" is..."

Ashwin, I totally agree with you. The Vogue readers( I hope it can be read online too) should be able to see how dicerse and widespread Our Shared Shelf is.

Dear Emma,

thank you for giving us this opportunity. It means a lot to me.

I do have the following questions for Marjane Satrapi:

First, what do the Iranian people think of you, especially women? Are you a well-known author?

What do you think about Malala Yousafazai? She is really brave I think and it is sad, that she can't visit Pakistan any more. Would you do the same actions she did, if you were in her shoes?

Thanks again, for giving us this opportunity Emma, you rock it!

message 45: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Marks | 2 comments Dear Emma,

I am so excited for this opportunity for you! I absolutely loved the book.

"A few questions for Marjane:
Why did you decide to make a graphic novel?

Did you have to edit a lot to fit the words to the pictures, or did you just draw a new picture when you had more words? (kind of a chicken or the egg scenario)

How has your perception of other nations changed over time? I am also Middle Eastern but not Persian and relate to the same foods and importance of tea, dangers of oil business,... and knowledge of war at home. Yet, we do not come from the same country. How has the Revolution impacted your view of an Iraqi or Afghan with a similar perspective? How has sharing your story changed your understanding of others with similar stories on the other side?

How did you research the war? What all did you remember and what did you have to look up?

Have your parents read it?

How did you go about drawing yourself? Your image is in most every frame, but it changes as you grow. How did you accomplish these many self portraits? Also, how does it feel to not only tell your story through words on a page but to show it with art? Has your art changed because of Persepolis? Is cartoon style your favorite? Has this style of art impacted other pieces you've created since its publishing?

Thanks so much for this contribution to the world and to my life as a student of Middle Eastern descent studying French and the fine art of Music (as well as Finance and Marketing but that does not matter). Please, keep writing, drawing, and producing incredible creations for the world to appreciate."

Also, thank you, Emma, for this outlet. Have an incredible interview! Looking forward to hearing about it.


message 46: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Kay (heystaceykay) | 2 comments How did you go about recalling all of the stories and memories you knit together in Persepolis? Had you kept a journal or diary as a record of your life? Did you have to ask family and friends for second-hand recollections in order to fill in any details?

Thank you for writing and drawing this story in such a beautiful and unapologetic way. I loved it.

message 47: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Post (kristenpost) | 15 comments I'm so excited to read this interview! Thank you for taking some of our questions, Emma!

I apologize if this is a repeat, but I don't recall seeing this question above:

It must have been quite difficult sifting through all your experiences/memories and selecting which to include in your graphic novel. Are there any that you now wish you had chosen to share? If so, perhaps you could share one in your interview.

Thank you again, Emma! And many thanks to Marjane for sharing this piece of herself with us.

message 48: by Sonia (new)

Sonia | 15 comments I am so impressed by the questions already presented. This interview will be a wonderful read no matter which questions you choose, Emma! This was my first graphic novel, and I loved it.

My question centers on Marjane's adolescence in Austria. She mentions multiple times that she hid the details of those years from her family because of the shame she felt of not having done more with her freedom and opportunity while in Vienna. Did these misgivings rear their head while Ms. Satrapi was writing her story? How and when was she able to let go of those emotions in order to allow herself to become her full self?

message 49: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 215 comments Bivisyani wrote: " Have you ever received criticism from fellow Iranians regarding your books? If yes, how do you deal with them?
Thanks, Emma! :)"

This was the first thought I had when I read the book.

Here is my question:
"Do forgive my candour, but wasn't leaving the country to lead a better life instead of trying to better the country (at the cost of personal freedom and security) exactly opposite of what you stood for in early life? "

As for the graphic novel, it was a first for me too. It was a real pleasure to read. Especially the "moral policing" parts to which I can relate.

message 50: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 4 comments There are many different opinions about hijab and islam in regards to feminism. Do you feel that either or both the hijab and/or Islam is antifeminist? If yes do you feel this is actually the religion's fault or the culture that is created around it?

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