Thursday, December 14, 2006

libyan female graphic novel writer interviewed

On Woman's Hour today, presenter Jenni Murray interviewed a young Libyan woman now living in Scotland, Asia Alfasi, who is author of a two-part autobiographical graphic novel to be published by Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury. The item is Woman's Hour podcast of the day. Jenni seemed obsessed by the fact that the artist wears a headscarf, and rather a lot of her questioning was about this rather than about the work. Asia was an engaging, fast-talking interviewee, and explained how her work is influenced by manga, the Japanese comic book tradition.

Asia isn't the only Middle Eastern woman to have opted for the graphic novel form. The Iranian Marjan Satrapi is author sof the acclaimed cartoon strip books Persepolis , Persepolis 2 and Poulet au Prunes. Persepolis is being made into a French-language film featuring the voices of Catherine Deneuve and her daughter Chiara Mastroianni among others.

From the Woman's Hour website:

"Cartoons and comic strips have always been politically emotive - the global backlash against cartoons of Muslims published in Denmark earlier this year proved the power of the medium. But the latest sensation to hit the publishing world is a young Muslim woman who says her cartoons are aimed at reconciling cultures and promoting understanding between Islam and the West.

"Asia Alfasi was born in Libya and moved to Scotland with her family at the age of 8. Now aged 22, she’s just signed a deal with Bloomsbury to publish her 2 volume autobiography in the form of a graphic novel. The first volume will be about her life in Libya, the second volume is set in Scotland. Her work draws on themes of family, faith and culture and the central character is a young girl who wears the headscarf. She joins Jenni in the studio. "