The Second Annual Festival of New French Writing kicks off this Thursday in NYC and will take place through Saturday afternoon. I’m actually moderating the first event and planning on attending most (if not all) of these, so I should be able to write this up in full all next week.
In the meantime, here’s the schedule with links to the bios of all the participants:
Thursday, February 24
Friday, February 25
4:00pm – Graphic Novelists David B. (Epileptic) + Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, The Jew of New York and Shoehorn Technique), moderated by New Yorker Art Director Françoise Mouly
7:30pm – French/Afghan writer and filmmaker and Prix Goncourt winner, Atiq Rahimi (The Patience Stone) + Russell Banks (The Sweet Hereafter, _Cloudsplitter), moderated by journalist Lila Azam Zanganeh
Saturday, February 26
4:00pm – Writer and film director, Philipe Claudel (I’ve Loved You So Long, Brodeck, By a Slow River) + A.M. Homes (The Mistress’s Daughter, This Book Will Save Your Life), moderated by Harper’s Magazine Publisher John R. (Rick) MacArthur
Free and open to the public, The Festival of New French Writing will take place at:
Ground Floor, Silver Center
100 Washington Square East (Entrance on Waverly Place)
Simultaneous interpretation from both languages will be available. Booksignings will follow each event and the authors’ books in English and French will be available for sale by Fieldstone Book Company.
Speaking of the first Festival of New French Writing, Tom Bishop, NYU’s Director of French Civilization and Culture, said that the French-American conversations brought out the singular qualities of each author and the national similarities and differences. In looking forward to the second edition in 2011, Bishop emphasized that “the 2011 Festival will showcase some of the best of this generation of French authors who are producing exciting, powerful, often humorous writing. They represent world literature at its best. In conversation with American counterparts with whom they share original takes on life in the 21st century, they will discuss their own works as well as the future of literature itself.”
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .