A ground-breaking dialogue between writers from both sides of the Atlantic
As a tireless promoter of French literature for more than twenty years on both the French and international stage, the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation is a partner to this ground-breaking festival designed to further French-American dialogue.
Since 1989, the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation has bestowed recognition on twenty-five young writers in French, including several who have seen their work translated into English, German, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Italian as well as Arabic, Korean, Serbian and Hebrew.
For three days, eleven French authors will be on hand at New York’s prestigious New York University: Olivier Rolin, Marie N’Diaye, Marie Darrieussecq, Abdourahman Waberi, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Marjane Satrapi, Emmanuel Carrère, Frédéric Beigbeder, Chantal Thomas and David Foenkinos, 2003 winner of the Jean-Luc Foundation Writer Grant. Thanks to the Writer Grant (1) he received – “the best possible gift for a writer, the freedom to write, to think about your writing and nothing else“, he says – he was able to complete Le potentiel érotique de ma femme (The Erotic Potential of my Wife), a book that met with major success and was translated into several languages.
Each French author will be introduced by an American counterpart (2) who will discuss the visitor’s writing and work methods and read selections from the French author’s work. These French and American writers will also engage in a face-to-face discussion, each comparing their own experiences with literary creation and speaking in their native language with simultaneous interpretation.
Unmatched in scope by any previous event, the Festival of New French Writing invites authors and the public to a unique dialogue between two literary figures. New Yorkers will have the opportunity to discover these French writers, all of whom have been translated into American and who represent a wide array of genres and styles in France’s current literary scene.
This distinctly French-American event is being made possible by partners in both France (Culturesfrance, the Embassy of France in the United States, the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation) and the US (NYU, the Florence Gould Foundation). Curating the festival are the university professor Tom Bishop in the United States and journalist Olivier Barrot in France.
With the aim of sparking a dynamic, long-term relationship between the French and American literary scenes – as well as between writers in the two countries and their readers – organizers hope to continue these events in the future, holding a festival every two years to keep abreast of changes in France’s publishing world.
(1) Each year, the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation awards ten Grants to young professionals to help them pursue projects in the fields of writing, the audiovisual arts, digital technology and music.
Applications can be downloaded from the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation website beginning on 16 March, and must be received at the Foundation by 12 June 2009.
(2) The pairs of writers will include Olivier Rolin and E.L. Doctorow, Marie N’Diaye and Francine du Plessix Gray,
Marie Darrieussecq and Adam Gopnik, Abdourahman Waberi and Philip Gourevitch, Bernard-Henri Lévy and
Mark Danner, Jean-Philippe Toussaint and Siri Hustvedt, Marjane Satrapi and Chris Ware, Emmanuel Carrère
and Francine Prose, Frédéric Beigbeder and Paul Berman, Chantal Thomas and Edmund White, David Foenkinos and Stefan Merrill Block.