Petru Popescu
Provocative novelist known for Girl Mary, Almost Adam, The Last Disident

Petru Popescu ran away from Communist Romania when he was that country's youngest and most talked-about dissident novelist. A direct conflict with dictator Ceausescu made him ask for help from illustrious American authors, including John Cheever, Saul Bellow, and John Ashbery, who pressured Ceausescu to give Petru a passport -- still, Petru's escape was dramatic and dangerous. He came to California in 1977, and after studying at the American Film Institute began to write screenplays in English; his first script, The Last Wave, co-written with director Peter Weir, became a cult classic. His political thriller movie Nobody's Children, about the plight of Romanian orphans, received accolades from critics and audiences alike.

Soon, Petru started writing fiction again, in English. Amazon Beaming (1991) and Almost Adam (1996) became NY Times bestsellers, while the nonfiction books The Return (1997) and The Oasis (2001) were acclaimed by authors like William Styron, Elie Wiesel and John Ashbery (more detailed data and year dates to be found at

Petru's latest novel, GIRL MARY, out this September from Simon&Schuster, is a historic novel based on the life of Mary of Nazareth. As Deepak Chopra said in an endorsement:

Girl Mary
brings the people and settings of Biblical antiquity to life with compassion, vivid storytelling, and an unerring eye for the Rightness of the world’s greatest story. It will speak to anyone who cherishes the essential humanity of our foundational spiritual traditions. — Deepak Chopra, author of Perfect Health

Petru takes great interest in male-female relationships. He explains that he is trying to understand history through iconic characters rediscovered and reinterpreted, and that his recurring themes are love and the female character. Petru lives in California and is married to designer Iris Friedman. They have two children, Adam and Chloe.