Tag Archives: Paris

A Paris Apartment Lost in Time

When I was writing my first novel Castle of Dreams I came across an article about a Paris apartment that had been lost in time. I filed the article away knowing I would use parts of the story and some of the images in a future story.

My work-in-progress is a dual narrative story set in World War One and its aftermath and in contemporary times. The story of the Paris apartment easily transposes to early twentieth century Australia where one narrative is set.

The locked Paris apartment has all the things I love: an abandoned home, images of what was left behind, a romantic story, a mystery.


In my files I have an unpublished story I wrote some years ago in which one of the characters is an artist so it wasn’t difficult to reread my original research, and use this in my WIP. I always give my characters a particular profession or hobby that defines them throughout a story and in the past narrative of my WIP one of my characters is an artist. So when I looked again at the photos of the Paris apartment and noticed the abandoned paintings I knew I’d have to include these in my story. Perhaps one of the found paintings will be of a young woman as beautiful as Marthe de Florian.

Marthe de Florian, the apartment owner’s grandmother who was a Belle Epoque socialite, theatre actress, and Boldini’s (the artist who painted this picture) muse.


The Paris apartment has all the elements of a fairytale including another of my favourite things: love letters from the past. They were found in the apartment, wrapped in different colored ribbons and scrawled in the hand of, among others, Boldini and 72nd Prime Minister George Clemenceau.

In the present day narrative my protagonist is a botanist who seeks the secrets of her family’s past. My mother was a keen gardener and loved to be outdoors and my daughter inherited her grandmother’s love of nature and gardens.  I didn’t.  Yet now I have started to research this subject I’m fascinated. Biblical references to plants and flowers is something I will use in my story: the healing properties of herbs, perfume, and more.  Botany is a wide church.

Jasmine Flowers


Have a wonderful week, dreaming, writing and reading.

Elise x




Filed under Castle of Dreams, Elise McCune




Filed under A Writer’s Notebook, What Elise Wrote

Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company

May 2014
Events at a Glance
Friday 2nd May 7pm
Philosophers in the Library: Bill Johnston Monday 5th May 7pm
Aller Retour Paris: Launch Party
Tuesday 6th May 4pm
Aller Retour Paris presents Thirza Vallois Wednesday 7th May 3pm
Aller Retour Paris presents Katy Masuga & Mary Duncan
Friday 9th May 7pm
The Art of Criticism: Brian Dillon Monday 12th May 7pm
Ned Beauman on Glow
Wednesday 14th May 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate Stables Thursday 15th May 7pm
John Berger on Cataract
Monday 19th May 7pm
Lisa Appignanesi on Paris Requiem Thursday 22nd May 6pm
Bard-en-Seine Reading:
As You Like It
A very happy new month to you all! We’re having a very vibrant spring-time so far here in Paris, out on the bright, blossomy streets and inside our bustling rabbit warren of a bookshop. We ended April in a very festive mood with a raucous adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s 15-Minute Hamlet, performed in the bookshop (front row audience members were very much caught up in the action!) by a stellar cast of Tumbleweeds and volunteers past and present. It was the perfect way to celebrate 450 years of the bard to the very date, and really put us in the mood for our next Shakespearean extravaganza… Watch this space for details about our Bard-en-Seine festival (23rd-27th July), whose show-stopper centre-piece will be a five night run of Macbeth, directed by Cressida Brown, and performed en plein air in the beautiful little park next to the bookshop.
But that’s getting ahead…there’s lots to anticipate in May, too. Roll up, roll up, Henry Miller aficionados! For the first week of the month, The Henry Miller Library gang are in town, all the way from sunny Big Sur, California, for their Aller Retour Paris Festival. They’ll be headquartered at Shakespeare and Company and we’ll be hosting a few special Henry Miller-themed events, but they’re getting out and about all over Paris, as well, so check out the full line-up here.
We’re also very, very excited about fiction readings with Ned Beauman and Lisa Appignanesi, and thrilled beyond belief to announce an event with John Berger, one of the most internationally influential writers and thinkers of the last fifty years.
(If you do not see the image, click here to view it) Shakespeare and Company in the 60s
(If you do not see the image, click here to view it) The cast of Tom Stoppard’s 15-Minute Hamlet takes a bow
May Events

Most events take place upstairs in the library (30 seats), on the ground level (50 seats), or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the readings and discussions is projected around the entire store. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.
Friday 2nd May 7pm
Philosophers in the Library presents…

The mindful translator: Toward a praxis of literary translation

Practising literary translators have long been at odds with translation theory. At best, such theory fails to capture the complexity of literary translation; at worst, it seriously misrepresents the processes and products of translation, both simplifying and distorting to the point where translators no longer recognize their part in the endeavor. Part of the problem lies in a misconception of what theory is for—there is a widespread assumption among translators and the general public that theory precedes practice, and is intended to be “applied”. Another approach, though, is possible—to theorize practice, as one finds, for example, in the work of Donald Schön and others. This talk, by an experienced practising translator, will consider the possible uses of theory for the practice of literary translation. Bill Johnston has translated about thirty books from the Polish, including both poetry and prose. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; his prizes include the inaugural Found in Translation Award for Tadeusz Różewicz’s new poems (2008) and the AATSEEL Translation Prize for Magdalena Tulli’s Dreams and Stones (2004), both published by Archipelago Books. In 2012 his translation of Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books, 2010) won the PEN Translation Prize, the Best Translated Book Award, and the AATSEEL Translation Prize. He is currently a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and is working on a new translation of the Polish national epic Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz (1798 – 1855). He teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University.
Monday 5th May 7pm
Aller Retour—The Henry Miller Library Goes to Paris!

Join us at Shakespeare and Company for the Aller Retour Paris opening night party, hosted by Ping-Pong, the official literary magazine of the Henry Miller Library (all the way from Big Sur, California)! Expect poetry, wine, music by Al Rose, and Henry Miller-inspired revelry all round! Speakers include New York City’s J Hope Stein, Paris-based artist Jean-Noël Chazelle, and editor Maria Garcia Teutsch.

Maria Garcia Teutsch will be reading from the new bilingual (French and English) edition of Pussy, as well as from her new manuscript, Whore-son, poems written in response to the underlined sections of Jean Genet’s The Balcony. She has been, or will be, published in: Otoliths, The South Carolina Review, Prairie Schooner, The Lullwater Review, The Cold Mountain Review, The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Sierra Nevada Review, Women’s Arts Quarterly, and Whole Beast Rag.

J Hope Stein is the author of the chapbooks: Talking Doll (Dancing Girl Press), Mary (Hyacinth Girl Press), and Corner Office (H_ngm_n). Her poems are published or forthcoming in Verse, HTML Giant, Tarpaulin Sky, Everyday Genius, Ping-Pong, Talisman, and Poetry International. She is also the editor of poetrycrush.com and the author of poetry/humour site eecattings.com.

Jean-Noël Chazelle is a Paris-based painter who will read French poems published in Ping-Pong, including the works of Jean Arp and Guy Jean, as well as some of his own work.
Tuesday 6th May 4pm
Aller Retour Paris presents: Thirza Vallois

Join us for a talk in the library—followed by an optional literary stroll around the City of Lights—with Thirza Vallois, whose “Around and About” Paris books have been universally acclaimed as the best travel books ever written on the city. The talk will run from 4-5pm, followed by the walk, which should wrap up around 7.30pm.

To learn more about Thirza and her books, visit http://www.thirzavallois.com
Wednesday 7th May 3pm
Aller Retour Paris presents: How Henry Miller Can Change Your Life (Again)

We all know why we love Henry Miller (or even hate him), but do we know the real reasons why we should love him? Join us for an insightful discussion with Dr. Katy Masuga, author of The Secret Violence of Henry Miller (2011) and Henry Miller and How He Got That Way (2011), and Mary Duncan, Director of the Paris Writers Group and author of Henry Miller is Under My Bed: People and Place on the Way to Paris (2008).
Friday 9th May 7pm
For the next installment of The Art of Criticism series, we are delighted to welcome Brian Dillon, to discuss reviewing books, writing essays, eclectic interests, and tackling literary theory. We will be discussing his new collection of essays, Objects in this Mirror (Sternberg Press), of which Wayne Koestenbaum has written, “Like Roland Barthes and Virginia Woolf, Brian Dillon pays lavish attention to curious byways that usually go without saying. In sentences at once playful and majestic, he plumbs the intellectual depths of his subjects, and reveals a perverse, nearly dandyish love for odd facts and iconoclastic vistas. There is more than a touch of W. G. Sebald—the Wordsworthian wanderer, the romantic itinerant—in Dillon’s melancholy yet mood-spiked attitude toward the material objects that greet his sober, ever-evaluating eye. Reading Objects in This Mirror, we participate in Dillon’s restless perambulations, and we are delighted to be thus transported.” Brian Dillon is a writer and critic based in Canterbury. His books include Objects in This Mirror: Essays (Sternberg Press, 2014), I Am Sitting in a Room (Cabinet, 2012), Sanctuary (Sternberg Press, 2011), Ruins (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery, 2011), Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (Penguin, 2009), and In the Dark Room (Penguin 2005). His writing appears regularly in the Guardian, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and frieze. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches critical writing at the Royal College of Art. Dillon is curator of Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing — a Hayward Touring exhibition which is at De Appel, Amsterdam, 27 June -14 September 2014 — and Ruin Lust, at Tate Britain from 4 March -18 May 2014. He is working on a book about the Great Explosion at Faversham, Kent, in 1916.

Hilary Mantel reviews Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives in the LRB
Monday 12th May 7pm
“A singular, and almost recklessly gifted, young writer” — Time

We’re hugely excited about hearing Ned Beauman speak about his dazzling new novel, Glow.

A hostage exchange outside a police station in Pakistan. A botched defection in an airport hotel in New Jersey. A test of loyalty at an abandoned resort in the Burmese jungle. A boy and a girl locking eyes at a rave in a South London laundrette… For the first time, one of Britain’s hottest young novelists turns his attention to the present day, as a conspiracy with global repercussions converges on one small flat above a dentist’s office in Camberwell.

Ned Beauman was born in 1985 in London. His debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize and won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction. His second novel, The Teleportation Accident, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and a Somerset Maugham Award. He has been chosen by the Culture Show as one of the twelve best new British novelists and by Granta as one of the 20 best British novelists under 40. His work has been translated into more than ten languages. Ned was also one of the judges for the Paris Literary Prize 2013.

Ned Beauman has a cool and interesting website here.
Wednesday 14th May 3pm
Children’s Hour—music, rhythm, and stories for kids. Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs, and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event has become an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated. Due to space restrictions, we ask that you try and email Kate to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!
Thursday 15th May 7pm
We’re thrilled to announce that the magnificent John Berger will be joining us to discuss Cataract, one of his latest titles, and resonant themes in his work as a whole.

John Berger is a storyteller, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, dramatist, and critic, whose body of work embodies his concern for, in Geoff Dyer’s words, “the enduring mystery of great art and the lived experience of the oppressed”. He is one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years, who has explored the relationships between the individual and society, culture and politics, and experience and expression in a series of novels, bookworks, essays, plays, films, photographic collaborations, and performances, unmatched in their diversity, ambition, and reach. His television series and book Ways of Seeing revolutionised the way that Fine Art is read and understood, while his engagement with European peasantry and migration in the fiction trilogy Into Their Labours and A Seventh Man stand as models of empathy and insight. Central to Berger’s creative identity is the idea of collaboration, with people, places, and communities as much as with other writers and thinkers. Democratic and open exchange is embedded into his project, and among those artists with whom he has worked are some of the most imaginative in their fields—theatre director Simon McBurney of Complicite, the late artist Juan Munoz, photographer Jean Mohr, composer Gavin Bryars, and film-makers Mike Dibb, Alain Tanner, and Timothy Neat.

In Cataract, John Berger works in collaboration with acclaimed Turkish illustrator Selçuk Demirel. In this book-length essay, published by the brilliant Notting Hill Editions (and Le Temps des Cerises in France), John Berger explores what happens when cataracts rob an art critic of his sight, and reflects upon his own experience of loss of vision.

John Berger: A Life in Writing

John Berger in conversation with Michael Ondaatje
Monday 19th May 7pm
We’re delighted to announce an evening with Lisa Appignanesi, who will, appropriately, be discussing her latest novel, Paris Requiem.

Paris, 1899. Capital of the crime passionel. Paris is electric with excitement. Everywhere preparations are underway for the universal exhibition and the new century—an age of speed and modernity. But the sensuous spectacle of the belle époque is shadowed by racial and social tensions. Street demos are rampant. Anti-Semites vie with the defenders of justice and the rights of man. Scientists propose hereditary explanations for the rise and rise of murder, madness, and nervous disorders. The police force is embattled, exposed in a scandal-mongering press. In the midst of all this, the body of a beautiful woman is found in the Seine. She is the performer Olympe Fabre. She is also Rachel Arnhem, a young Jewish woman, whom gossip, back in Boston, has linked to one of its favourite prodigals, Rafael Norton. James Norton, his elder brother, is charged with the task of bringing Raf and their high-spirited, though ailing, sister, Ellie, home from the hotbed of vice and murderous entanglements. It is a mission he confronts reluctantly. He and Paris have a history—not altogether unlinked to the turbulent present that now confronts him.

Lisa Appignanesi OBE is a prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster, and cultural commentator. She is past president of English PEN, served as deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and is chair of the Freud Museum. She appears regularly on Radio 3’s Night Waves and Radio 4’s Saturday Review. Her many books include Trials of Passion, Losing the Dead, Mad, Bad and Sad, All About Love, and The Memory Man. She lives in North London.

Discover Lisa Appignanesi’s top ten books about Paris
Thursday 22nd May 6pm
The Bard-en-Seine Readings

Throughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter.

For May, the play will be As You Like It and the reading will take place on Thursday 22nd at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated plays for each remaining month of 2014 are as follows:

June – Henry IV (Part 1)
July – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August – Othello
September – The Merchant of Venice
October – Hamlet
November – Twelfth Night
December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.
Special Recommendation if You Live in Paris
Le Panier d’Alexandre

We love getting our weekly fruit and vegetables directly from the source: Alexandre. Alexandre grows his produces in the Oise region and delivers weekly to Paris — usually on his bicycle. He delivers to your door and it costs 20 euros for a full bag of delicious home-grown goodies which you can be sure haven’t been drowned in pesticides! For more information, check out his website.
Podcasts from Last Month’s Events
John Baxter on Paris at the End of the World The Art of Criticism: Lila Azam Zanganeh
The Original of Lolita: Celebrating Nabokov’s Birthday in Paris The Best Translated Book Award 2014: Announcement and Celebration (feat. Amélie Nothomb)
450 Years of Shakespeare: A Celebration
Staff and Tumbleweed Picks
The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
This is an extraordinary, heart-breaking novel. Beautifully written, it is the perfect companion to On Canaan’s Side. Barry’s prose has a cadence that quietly gathers until it becomes visceral. His project is of retrieval; for him, novels are the true afterlife and The Temporary Gentleman is a work of magic. — Sarah
The Black Count by Tom Reiss
Superman, Batman, Thor… These guys would have been no match for General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose military and life achievements certainly surpass all his contemporaries. Son of a Haitian slave and a renegade French nobleman, the father of Alexandre Dumas was the inspiration for the Count of Monte Cristo. Indeed, much as Edmond Dantès was betrayed by his friends, Thomas-Alexandre was sent to exile by a jealous Napoleon Bonaparte who could not stand to ride in the shadow of his formidable black General. Written in the style of Dumas, this hectic biography is also a clever and well-documented description of France at the end of the 18th century. No wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. — Alex G
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Sit up, read this, and be surprised. This novel throws you into the mind of a young woman and her relationship with her family. It is outstanding. The energy, the detail, and the originality of the prose are unforgettable. I haven’t felt this affected by a novel for a long time. — Sylvia
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
I’ve always been drawn to the dirty side of Paris… Here Orwell writes about the bedbugs so we can enjoy the history without enduring the bites! — Octavia
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
A haunting book about Ruthie and her family before her. Sentence for sentence, beauty can be found. This is a short, sweet novel about growing up in the wonderfully depicted town of Fingerbone. It is a novel full of light (or lack thereof) and a whole bunch of weather that twists and turns like a bad night’s sleep. If you want to know how to write a perfectly crafted little book, well, then you can’t go wrong with Housekeeping. — Thos
Antiquarian Picks
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
First US edition / first hardback edition
New York: Grove Press, 1962
First published in paperback by Olympia Press in Paris in 1959 as The Naked Lunch, William Burroughs’s stupefying satire on addiction, what he described as the “algebra of need”, was banned from US publication by obscenity laws. The book was finally published by Grove Press in 1962, retitled Naked Lunch to match Burroughs’s original intentions, and with substantial changes that brought the text closer to a 1958 manuscript held by Allen Ginsberg. Fine in near fine dust jacket, this first US edition appears unread. A stunning copy.
The Journals of Anaïs Nin
First editions of volumes 1-3 sold as a set
Inscribed by the author
London: Peter Owen, 1966-1970
In her legendary journals, published in seven volumes, Anaïs Nin excavates her own mind to create an intensely candid journey through the years 1931 to 1974. They are where she deciphers or perhaps dreams all those things that make up her complicated myth: sexual freedom, bigamy, psychoanalysis, colossal lies, erotica, feminism, her relationship with Henry Miller in Paris. These first three volumes, taking us from 1931-1934, 1934-1939, and 1939-1944, are inscribed by Nin to the editor Beatrice Musgrave at her publishing house Peter Owen. An extremely special set in very good condition, signed “with friendship”.
Further Literary Tidbits
Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality Matt Haig on Reading and Writing Against Depression
The Wizard of Oz Re-Imagined by Lisbeth Zwerger Paris People on Their Favourite Books about Paris (including tips from our own Sylvia Whitman)
New York Times obituary for Gabriel García Márquez ‘Having a Coke With You’ Illustrated by Nathan Gelgud
Seven Shakespearean Phrases and Concepts that Changed Western Culture On the Re-launch of Pelican Books
Charles Simic on The Great Poets’ Brawl of ‘68 The Art of Independent Publishing
The Last Words
“Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.”
— As You Like It
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”
– Iris Murdoch

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Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

Shakespeare and Company

The most wonderful bookstore in the world!

Shakespeare & Company

March 2014Events at a Glance Wednesday 5th March 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate StablesWednesday 5th March 7pm
Philosophers in the LibraryThursday 6th March 8pm
Book signing with Dave EggersMonday 10th March 7pm
Andrew Hussey on The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and its ArabsMonday 17th March 7pm
A celebration of Charles BukowskiFriday 21st March 7pm
The Fag Ash MonologuesSunday 23rd March 7pm
Hanif Kureishi on The Last WordMonday 31st March 7pm
Naomi Wood on Mrs. HemingwayEarly suggestions of spring in Paris are always magical. And these past few weeks we’ve had blue skies, pink evenings, and a warmth in the air which reminds us of sitting in parks with picnics of oysters andwhite wine. Tulips and daffodils are blooming all over the city and, on the banks of the Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin, the waterside crowds are slowly returning.Maybe the changing season is putting a spring in our step, because there’s so much going on at the bookshop this month that we barely know where to start. We’re hugely looking forward to hearing from Andrew Hussey on his bold and fascinating new book, The French Intifada, a timely interrogation of France’s complicated relationship with its Arab citizens and its former colonies. The following week, fans of Bukowski will have a chance to share their favourite lines at a special evening celebrating his worktwenty years after his death. And we know how deep your passion flows for all things Hemingway here, so we can’t wait to present novelist Naomi Wood on Mrs. Hemingway, a brilliant, tender portrait of the writer through the prism of the four women who married him. We’re also very excited to have the great Dave Eggers visiting us for a signing and, later in the month, Hanif Kureishi to enthrall and scandalize us all talking about his latest novel, The Last Word.Finally, and just because they’re so lovely, we’d like to share with you the ten winning love-steeped lines from our Valentine’s Day quotes competition…

“I ask you to pass through life at my side – to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“Each time you happen to me all over again.” – Edith Wharton, The Age Of Innocence

“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss where I can not find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

“May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn’t such a moment sufficient for the whole of one’s life?” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights

“We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you.” – Jeanette Winterson

“Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar but never doubt I love.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“If you live to be a hundred I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I will never have to live a day without you.” – A. A. Milne,Winnie the Pooh

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

(If you do not see the image, click here to view it)Sylvia Beach (second from right) with a bandaged Ernest Hemingway and two shop assistants, outside the original Shakespeare and Company on rue de l’Odéon (Copyright Princeton University Library)(If you do not see the image, click here to view it)A double rainbow over Notre Dame (Photo by Milly Unwin)March Events Most events take place upstairs in the library (30 seats), on the ground level (50 seats), or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the readings anddiscussions is projected around the entire store. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.Wednesday 5th March 3pmChildren’s Hour – music, rhythm, and stories for kids. Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs, and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event hasbecome an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated.

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you try and email Kate atkatestables@gmail.com to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!

Wednesday 5th March 7pmPhilosophers in the Library presents…

Defining the Problem of Tomorrow’s Memory: Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age

The concept of collective memory is now well-established within the contemporary cultural heritage sector. It is in the name of memory, and the future of memory, that a case for the preservation of heritage collections is being stated with increasing urgency, and digital technologies are perceived as presenting new opportunities for sharing and providing access to cultural resources. However, these technologies also disrupt that sense of historical continuity integral to collective memory by recoding the historical timeline as a relational database and making chronologies subsidiary to search terms.

This presentation will touch on philosophical debates about collective memory and the discourse of history in the context of the cultural heritage sector, tracing the influence of digital technologies and reflecting on the broader societal and political implications for memory in the digital age.

Liz Stainforth is a PhD student in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds). Her research considers the ideological significance attributed to memory, understood as a form of national or transnational inheritance, in relation to cultural heritage digitisation projects. Previous roles at the University of Leeds Library have involved project work with the Digital Content and Repositories Team, Special Collections, and the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery.

Thursday 6th March 8pm”Many writers, having written a first best-seller, might see it as a nice way to start a career. He started a movement instead.” – Time

We’re delighted to announce a book signing with the dazzling Dave Eggers.

Dave Eggers’s most recent novel is the critically acclaimed critique of the internet age, The Circle. He is the author of six previous books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award, and Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His novel What Is the What was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Dave Eggers is

the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer:, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a non-profit writing and tutoring centre for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centres in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC. A native of Chicago, Dave Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Margaret Atwood’s NYRB review of The Circle

A short Q&A with Dave Eggers onThe Circle

Monday 10th March 7pmWe’re very excited to present Andrew Hussey on his timely and provocative new book, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and its Arabs.

To fully understand both the social and political pressures wracking contemporary France – and, indeed, all of Europe – as well as major events from the Arab Spring to the tensions in Mali, Andrew Hussey believes that we have to look beyond the confines of domestic horizons. As much as unemployment, economic stagnation, and social deprivation exacerbate the ongoing turmoil in the banlieues, the root of the problem lies elsewhere: in the continuing fallout from Europe’s colonial era.

Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, literature, and politics with his years of personal experience visiting the banlieues and countries across the Arab world, especially Algeria, Andrew Hussey attempts to make sense of the present situation. In the course of teasing out the myriad interconnections between past and present in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Beirut,

and Western Europe, The French Intifada shows that the defining conflict of the twenty-first century will not be between Islam and the West but between two dramatically different experiences of the world – the colonizers and the colonized.

Andrew Hussey is Dean of the University of London Institute in Paris, a regular contributor to theGuardian and The New Statesman, and the writer/presenter of several BBC documentaries on French food and art. He is the author of The Game of War: The Life and Death of Guy Debord (2001), and Paris: The Secret History (2006). He was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list for services to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and France.

This event will be chaired by Marie Doezema, a journalist with over ten years of reporting experience in the U.S., France, Japan, and Qatar. She is currently based in Paris, where she works as a correspondent for various international publications and as a teacher of journalism at the Sorbonne.

An extract from The French Intifada

Monday 17th March 7pm“In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see. If I write of ‘sadism’ it is because it exists, I didn’t invent it, and if some terrible act occurs in my work it is because such things happen in our lives. I am not on the side of evil, if such a thing as evil abounds. In my writing I do not always agree with what occurs, nor do I linger in the mud for the sheer sake of it. Also, it is curious that the people who rail against my work seem to overlook the sections of it which entail joy and love and hope, and there are such sections. My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the ‘light’ and never mentioned the other, then as an artist I would be a liar.” – Charles BukowskiMarch 2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of Charles Bukowski’s death. What a perfect excuse to praise one of the greatest, most honest, most controversial American poets and novelists who ever lived. You’re all invited to come on stage and share your favorite poem or lines. We will also be lucky enough to have with us French writers and Bukowski fans Christophe Donner and Pierre Mikaïloff.

The event will be chaired by Alexandre Guégan, who recently translated More Notes of a Dirty Old Man into French for Grasset. And there are even rumours that we will be joined by the author himself…

Tony O’Neill on Bukowski in theGuardian

Friday 21st March 7pmSpoken Word London host (and ex-Tumbleweed extraordinaire) Pat Cash presents a short selection of the Fag Ash Monologues, three ten-minute windows into the worlds of disparate characters in modernBritain, including Patricia Primarché, the cheap drag queen, $harkface $ally, the venomous PR woman, and Vinnie, the boring boyfriend. Performed by Pat Cash, Milly Unwin, and Tom Hodges.Sunday 23rd March 7pmWe’re delighted to present Hanif Kureishi on his witty and brilliant new novel, The Last Word.

Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England – but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste.

Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon’s career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon’s work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist’s life. Harry’s publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile, Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether. Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word?

Hanif Kureishi was born in Kent and read philosophy at King’s College, London. His 1984 screenplay for the film My Beautiful Laundrette was nominated for an Oscar. His short story ‘My Son the

Fanatic’ was adapted as a film in 1998. The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel and was produced as a four-part drama for the BBC in 1993. His second novel was The Black Album (1995). The next,Intimacy (1998), was adapted as a film in 2001, winning the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film festival. Gabriel’s Gift was published in 2001 and Something to Tell You in 2008. A short story collection,Collected Stories, was published in 2010. Hanif Kureishi has also written non-fiction, including the essay collections Dreaming and Scheming: Reflections on Writing and Politics (2002) and The Word and the Bomb (2005). The memoir My Ear at his Heart: Reading my Fatherappeared in 2004.

Hanif Kureishi was awarded the C.B.E. for his services to literature, and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts des Lettres in France. His works have been translated into 36 languages.

Observer interview with Hanif Kureishi

Monday 31st March 7pmWe’re very happy to present Naomi Wood on Mrs. Hemingway – the story of the most famous writer of his generation and the four extraordinary women who married him.

In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge, and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley’s best friend. She is also Ernest’s lover. Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest’s literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four women

will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife. Luminous and intoxicating, Mrs. Hemingwayportrays real lives with rare intimacy and plumbs the depths of the human heart.

Naomi Wood was born in 1983 and lives in London. She studied at Cambridge and at UEA for her MA in Creative Writing. Originally from York, she has gone on to live in Hong Kong, Paris, and Washington DC. Her first novel was The Godless Boys.

Rave review of Mrs. Hemingway in The Telegraph

Rave review of Mrs. Hemingway in The Observer

The Bard-en-Seine ReadingsThroughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter (see below for February’s reading of Romeo and Juliet), so you’ll all be able to share in the theatrical fun.

For March, the play will be The Tempest and the reading will take place on Thursday 20th at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin atmilly@shakespeareandcompany.com, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served

basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated plays for each remaining month of 2014 are as follows:

April – King Lear
May – As You Like It
June – Henry IV (Part 1)
July – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August – Othello
September – The Merchant of Venice
October – Hamlet
November – Twelfth Night
December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.

Podcasts from Recent EventsMaggie O’Farrell on Instructions for a HeatwaveMargaret Drabble on The Pure Gold BabyLouise Doughty on Apple Tree YardJoanna Walsh on Fractals, with Lauren ElkinBard-en-Seine Reading: Romeo and Juliet Staff and Tumbleweed PicksCapital by Karl MarxMy grandmother was a communist and as punishment for putting sand in my cousin’s sandwich, she made me read a chapter of Marx out-loud every Sunday for several months. At first, it was the book’s politics that stirred me – I started boycotting the local sweet-shop, knowing there was profit in rhubarb and custards. Recently though, it has been the book’s style – its incredible giant panache – that has delighted me. I encourage you to put sand in a cousin’s sandwich. – Ben AAll Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga GrjasnovaWe all are foreigners, aren’t we? Foreign to countries, languages, the relationships we live in, foreign to ourselves. So is Masha, this book’s main character. Twenty-something, independent, hair-trigger temper, a beautiful woman, graduate in translation, speaking five languages, likeable – she has everything she needs to start a successful adult life, but yet this is only the beginning of her difficult path to self-identification. An immigrant from Azerbajian, living in Germany, from a family with Jewish origins, surrounded by other outcasts, Masha is desperately trying to fix the feeling of not belonging she has been dealing with since she was a child. Set in Baku, Berlin, and Israel, this story is about how love and politics become one in Masha’s life. Harsh, witty, and very compelling, All Russians Love Birch Trees is a debut novel and a promising start to Grjasnova’s writing career. – KarolinaA Man in Love by Karl Ove KnausgaardThe second book of six. The third, Boyhood Island, comes out at the end of March, so make sure you are up-to-date with Knausgaard’s life and musings. I finished this epic in a whirlwind and am now thirsty for more. Read of Knausgaard’s move to Stockholm, of love and hate and family, and what it means to have a pencil in your hand. As one reviewer said “even when I was bored, I was interested”. Surprisingly addictive. – ThosOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezIn a world where angel-like, too-wise-for-the-world girls ascend into the sky on a warm afternoon, where the blood of murdered men runs along the streets, Marquez is king. Time to rediscover this jewel of Latino-American literature, which depicts the history of Macondo, a small Colombian village, through the different generations of the Buendia family. With a restless humour, the author embraces everything life and human beings seem to be about. The diversity of themes he tackles is only matched by a baroque style that distils magic within reality and leaves the reader to catch his breath when the last page is turned. Then, the real solitude begins. – Jean-BaptistePortions from a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles BukowskiThis is a pretty rad collection of columns, short stories, and essays that Bukowski wrote for magazines, including some of his (in)famous Notes of a Dirty Old Man. There is a lot of humour in these never-published-before gems. You might even learn a thing or two on what it takes to be a writer, a poet. You might hear of William Wantling for the first time and fall in love with his poems. You might want to beat the racetrack. And if you read it carefully, you will get that the dirty old man was in fact an angel in disguise. – Alex GPoet’s Pub by Eric LinklaterBeer and books. Saturday Keith, aspiring young poet, takes over the Pelican Pub. Cue a cross-country car-chase, farcical romantic mishaps, and P.G Wodehouse-esque quick quips. A comical portrait of life as we wish it had been in upper class 1920s Britain. – AimeeFurther Literary TidbitsMavis Gallant’s Spanish DiariesA Dramatic Reading of James Joyce’s Filthy Love LettersThe North-West London Blues by Zadie SmithThe Beautiful Magazines Proving Print Isn’t DeadCan Beauty Help Us Become Better People?James Wood on Not Going HomeThe Universal Shapes of Stories According to Kurt VonnegutWilliam Shakespeare: The King of Infinite SpaceWhy Are Books About English Grammar So Popular?George Packer on Amazon in The New YorkerThe Last Word “We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
– The TempestJoin Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter @Shakespeare_Co for daily shop updates, event announcements, and general bookshop-in-Paris notes.

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My Writing Journey

I have had a good writing week. I now have twelve chapters and it feels right. The writing is good in some chapters in other chapters I need to make them sing. I had advice from a writer I met recently and it has helped to make the story flow.
Needless to say I worked hard for most days.
Last night I went to the city of Melbourne with a new friend, she is an art curator and
explained  the history of White Night. It started in Paris, which is my
favourite city, and France of course is which is a country I love, well perhaps Egypt comes first! We parked near The Willows a restaurant in St Kilda Road and caught a tram to the city. We saw
wonderful light shows and our beautiful buildings were lit up and magical.
There were about half a million people and the going was tough to get through the crowds.
But the feeling and togetherness of the crowds of people made up for this. I spoke to my
daughter this morning, told her I didn’t get home until after three this morning, and
she too had been at White Night with her family, although I didn’t know they had
decided to go. Her comments were exactly how I felt about a wonderful community event.
I was very lucky to be with someone who knows so much about art and is an artist
and sculptor and a teacher and curator of art. A good night but I’m sorry,
because of the crowds (well-behaved and friendly) we didn’t get to see as many
of the art exhibits as we wished.
My son is off to Paris in June, to Spain and other climes! My small granddaughter’s
favourite place (although she has never visited) is Paris, she tells me she feels a connection.
Perhaps her uncle will bring her home a gift from Paris, and also something
for her brothers. My oldest grandchild is now taller than his mother, a handsome
and engaging young man, and his brother is the light of everyone’s life! How blessed
we are with family and good friends. Remember, today tell someone you love them,
and friends of the heart are family too!
Enjoy your writing week, best, Elise.

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Beauty and the Beast

I love fairytales (I do not split the word fairytale in two). On my bookshelf, from my childhood library, is a first edition (1949) copy of The Little Good People, Folk Tales of Ireland, by Kathleen Foyle, with illustrations by Peter Fraser. An excerpt from the preface:

‘You come on it in the cool of dawning, or at nightfall when the bats are flying and the old cummers lay by their knitting – Tir nan Og, fair land of promise and gathered dreams. For some it lied no farther than the bend of the road; and there are others who must retrace their steps to glimpse it with longing through a weariness of years. But all travel by way of a sleeping wood.’

‘It is but a step from the Sleeping Wood to the magic glades of Tir nan Og, the Irish fairyland, where glad hearts find eternal youth, and where the Little Good People stay safe and sheltered.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=knOJffdGDdg         (copy and paste the link to your search engine)

This is the trailer for  Beauty and the Beast a film on my ’to see list’. I love the richness of the story and the visual images of glowing costumes and scenery. I want my blog to be rich and colourful and filled with all things French. With Paris and Gothic and mystery and literature and the 19th century; this video is all these things. I have always felt a connection to France. Of course, my own wonderful homeland of Australia: the bush and the  Indian Ocean coastline where I have a house in Western Australia (Tim Winton country)  is the true country of my heart.

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My Writing Journey

I finished the nearly last chapter of my WIP (work-in-progress). It is set in Northern California and I enjoyed the research for this chapter. I read about mushrooms and pine forests and crawfish and violet-green sparrows. It was a joy to write. I will leave that chapter now and come back to it in a few weeks to edit it several more times. Because my WIP is a time split novel I have chapters set in different time periods and I also move my characters around: different states in Australia and the one set in Northern California. Today I worked on a chapter set in 1968. My protagonist is a journalist, recently returned from Vietnam. I love reading a story with a twist in the tale and my WIP has exactly that. It takes time to plot and even then I sometimes change what I plotted in my outline. Such is a writer’s journey!

A  librarian friend, recently  in Paris, visited Shakespeare and Co and sent me a picture postcard of the bookshop. I am envious of the few hours she spent browsing there. She explained that one has to queue for entry as the bookshop would be overrun with people, locals and visitors from all around the world, otherwise.  The postcard she sent me is one I will keep.

As a writer do you hear the siren song of what you may write in the future? I do and it’s hard not to put pen to paper (read fingers to keyboard). A short story I started a few weeks ago hasn’t progressed further. It seems I am the type of writer who must finish one thing before I start another. The idea is there, fermenting, waiting for the right time. I need to research this story but I haven’t decided if I’m  going to finish it. But the protagonist is insistent and demanding so perhaps I will write her story.

Good writing, Elise

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Anais Nin Reads from her Diary

Click below to hear Anais Nin read from her journal.


I have a collection of books written by Anais Nin collected over the last thirty years including her journals.

Anaïs Nin (Spanish: ana’is ’nin; born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an American author born to Spanish-Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She published journals(which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and erotica. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously.

“I am the most tired woman in the world. I am tired when I get up. Life requires an effort I cannot make. Please give me that heavy book. I need to put something heavy like that on top of my head. I have to place my feet under the pillows always, so as to be able to stay on earth. Otherwise I feel myself going away, going away at a tremendous speed, on account of my lightness. I know that I am dead. As soon as I utter a phrase my sincerity dies, becomes a lie whose coldness chills me. Don’t say anything, because I see that you understand me, and I am afraid of your understanding. I have such a fear of finding another like myself, and such a desire to find one! I am so utterly lonely, but I also have such a fear that my isolation be broken through, and I no longer be the head and ruler of my universe. I am in great terror of your understanding by which you penetrate into my world; and then I stand revealed and I have to share my kingdom with you.”

Anais Nin

Photo Carl van Vechten (1880-1964)

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Library, France

library paris france

Not sure where this library is. Does anyone know? I’d love to spend some time there.

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February 23, 2013 · 5:15 pm

Shakespeare and Company, February, 2013

For those of you who are lucky to be in Paris in February this is the Shakespeare and Company, February, 2013 newsletter.

Friday 1st February 7pm
Stephanie LaCava on An Extraordinary Theory of Objects Monday 4th February 7pm
Concert with Yo Zushi
Tuesday 12th February 7.30pm
Kevin Powers on The Yellow Birds Thursday 14th February 7pm
Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies
Wednesday 20th February 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate Stables Thursday 21st February 7pm
Becoming a Writer/Staying a Writer with Louise Doughty
Friday 22nd February 6pm
Philosophers in the Library with Hammam Aldouri Monday 25th February 7pm
Denis Hirson, Ellen Hinsey and Nancy Huston
Snow has been falling these past couple of weeks and covering Paris in a sparkling blanket of white, soon flecked with the grit of thousands of Parisians stomping through, bundled in hats and coats and scarfs and breathing puffs of cold air. At the bookshop, we’ve been hibernating from the winter chill and the snow at our doorstep, but beavering away inside, sprucing up and stripping away ready for a new year. We’ve now installed a projector in the library to complement our fabulous (but very discreet) cinema screen, so watch out for some cosy film screenings over the next few months. Over February, we’ll be running footage from the archives, so pop in and you might catch a glimpse of life at Shakespeare and Company in decades gone by.
To celebrate our reopening, we have a particularly jam-packed and vibrant events programme this month, from Stephanie LaCava, author of an exquisite, oddball memoir about growing up in Paris, to Kevin Powers, Iraq war veteran and critically acclaimed author of The Yellow Birds, and Skippy Dies author Paul Murray, to a new edition of the ever-popular Philosophers in the Library, and a joint reading from three much-admired Paris-based writers.
Photograph by David Grove
Don’t forget, if you are unable to come to a particular event and want a signed copy of one of the author’s books (we can also post it to you) please email Alice.

Most events take place upstairs in the library (40 seats), on the ground level (50 seats) or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the reading and discussions is projected around the entire bookshop. We recommend you arrive 15–30 minutes early to try to get a seat as there is limited space.
We are delighted to present journalist Stephanie LaCava with her captivating literary debut, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects.

An awkward, curious girl growing up in a foreign country, Stephanie LaCava finds solace and security in strange yet beautiful objects. When her father’s mysterious job transports her and her family to the quaint Parisian suburb of Le Vésinet, everything changes for the young American. Stephanie sets out to explore her new surroundings and to make friends at her unconventional international school, but her curiosity soon gives way to feelings of anxiety and a deep depression. In her darkest moments, Stephanie learns to filter the world through her peculiar lens, discovering the uncommon, uncelebrated beauty in what she finds. Encouraged by her father through trips to museums and scavenger hunts at antique shows, she traces an interconnected web of narratives of long-ago outsiders, and of objects historical and natural, that ultimately help her survive.

A series of illustrated essays that unfolds in cinematic fashion, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects offers a universal lesson – to harness the power of creativity to cope with loneliness, sadness, and disappointment to find wonder in the uncertainty of the future.
Interview with Stephanie LaCava

Daily Beast review of An Extraordinary Theory of Objects

Realism Deficiency: book trailer for An Extraordinary Theory of Objects

“This could be the start of something major” – ****, Q Magazine
Yo Zushi, described by Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio 1 as “the spirit of Bob Dylan for the 21st century”, has released two albums on Pointy Records, as well as an EP on Italy’s Best Kept Secret Tape Label. Q Magazine gave his debut album, Songs From a Dazzling Drift, four stars, saying: “This could be the start of something major.”

The Word praised his “perfectly constructed lyricism”; Dazed & Confused called his music “a masterclass in storytelling”. In 2008, Zushi released his second album, Notes For Holy Larceny (five stars – Amelia’s Magazine; “A raw… intriguing talent” – Steve Lamacq, BBC Radio 2), followed by a series of EPs and singles in 2009. Zushi has played on bills with Joanna Newsom, Scritti Politti, Willy Mason, Rachel Unthank, the Magic Numbers, Patrick Wolf and Micah P Hinson, among others. After a few years off, Zushi is back with dozens of new songs, some of which will soon be released through his blog Board of Fun

More info on Yo Zushi: http://www.yozushi.net

In collaboration with Stock, we are very excited to present Kevin Powers, author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning The Yellow Birds. An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran, The Yellow Birds is already being hailed as a modern classic. Described as the “All Quiet on the Western Front for the Arab wars” by Tom Wolfe and “a classic of contemporary war literature” by The New York Times, The Yellow Birds is also the winner of the Guardian First Book Award, and a finalist in the National Book Awards. It was chosen as a book of the year in 2012 by The New York Times, The Times, The Independent, the TLS, and The Irish Times, among many others.

Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, VA. In 2004 and 2005 he served with the U.S. Army in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq. He studied English at Virginia Commonwealth University after his honourable discharge and received an M.F.A. in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012.
Interview with Kevin Powers

The New York Times review of The Yellow Birds

“A triumph. . . brimful of wit and narrative energy” – Sunday Times
In collaboration with Belfond, we are very happy to present Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies (2010) and An Evening of Long Goodbyes (2003). A former bookseller, Paul Murray was born in 1975. He studied English literature at Trinity College in Dublin and has a Masters degree in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. His first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2003 and was nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award. His most recent book, Skippy Dies, described as a tragi-comic masterpiece about growing up and learning about life in a Dublin boarding school, was longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and received a staggering amount of critical acclaim.

Paul Murray is in France to promote the French publication of Skippy Dies, Skippy dans les étoiles (Belfond). We can’t wait to hear from him…
Review of Skippy Dies

Children’s Hour – music, rhythm and stories for kids: Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event is fast becoming an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated.
Becoming a Writer/Staying a Writer: novelist Louise Doughty will talk about the practicalities of becoming a writer and staying one in today’s difficult and exciting climate.Doughty is the author of six previous novels, including Whatever You Love, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She also wrote A Novel in a Year, a book about writing, based on her hugely popular newspaper column, which drew tens of thousands of responses worldwide. What is it that makes so many people want to write a novel and how do they go about it? How useful are writing courses, writers’ groups, blogs and self-publishing? Most importantly, how does any novelist keep his or her nerve in the face of rejections or bad reviews – and how does anyone combine a writing life with the practicalities of earning a living, having relationships or a family?

Louise Doughty’s seventh novel, Apple Tree Yard, will be published by Faber & Faber UK in June. She has worked widely as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK and was a judge for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for fiction.
This edition of Philosophers in the Library will focus on the philosophical concept most strongly associated with G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy and its legacy: ‘dialectic.’ Notwithstanding the complex and diverse theoretical reception of the concept (most notably in the historical forms that structure ‘post-‘, ‘anti-‘, and ‘neo-‘ Hegelianism), not to mention the notorious difficulty of Hegel’s own philosophical exposition, this talk will move at a consciously rudimentary level, staying close to only a small number of critical moments in Hegel’s work (especially the Phenomenology of Spirit) and attempting to expose and explicate as clearly as possible central themes and salient meanings found therein. Accordingly, the talk will advance through a series of basic reflections: it will inquire into the identity of the dialectic (“what is it?”), its operation (“how does it work?”) and its consequences (“what happens as a result of dialectics?”). In the attempt to demystify Hegel’s dialectic at an introductory level, it will hopefully become clear in what sense Hegel’s thought is still of relevance today. No prior knowledge of Hegel or philosophy in general is necessary – Philosophers in the Library is open to everyone!
Three English-speaking writers living in Paris, Nancy Huston, Ellen Hinsey and Denis Hirson, will all be reading from their work. To honour the passing of George Whitman and the new page that has turned at Shakespeare and Company, they have chosen texts which all relate to the essential energies freed by rites of passage. Are there any stronger moments in our lives than those concerning birth, love and death? That is when we use our deepest fuel, when our strongest writing is done. Come and listen to three writers putting this idea to the test.
FIESTA (The Sun Also Rises)

Based on Ernest Hemingway’s classic

Adapted by Alex Helfrecht with Sam Snape FIESTA is a fiercely original theatrical experience, fusing explosive theatre, live jazz performance and dynamic choreography into a play that sees the sensual beauty and the raw brutality of Ernest Hemingway’s tale of love, loss and decadence.
Here’s a little teaser trailer
Book tickets here

This is a wonderful, heart-breaking story about a ten year old boy whose face is severely deformed from birth. His state is so rare that doctors consider him a medical wonder. People point, stare, gasp, shriek – something August never gets used to. In this book, narrated by August and later by other children, we follow his first year at school and the challenges it brings, the changes people make and the eventual friendships formed over more than beauty. Similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. — Sylvia
This is a graceful and oddball memoir about trying to grow up in a foreign city (Paris, when you are American). It chronicles mental illness, alienation and the struggles of adolescence (I’m about the same age as the author and found the analysis of grunge and Kurt Cobain and the cardigan pretty nostalgic), but, as the author found solace in curious and compelling objects, so do we. The text is sprinkled with exquisite line drawings and meandering footnotes on each strange little talisman that Stephanie hoarded. For example, a trip to the shop to buy sugar-dusted violet candies becomes a rumination on the violet through history (“one of the few flowers that flourishes in winter”) – violet crystals, violet wine, violet perfume… A melancholy and magical story. — Laura
The road that brought me to Shakespeare and Company this year began in Addis Ababa, so when I saw the name Dinaw Mengestu on the contemporary fiction shelf I immediately recognized it as Ethiopian. Mengestu’s sophomore novel is not about Ethiopia per se, but speaks more broadly to the restlessness of youth, love, immigrants, Americans: in short, it excludes no one from its considerations for what it means to alive in a highly mobile world. But the message Mengestu conveys through his protagonist – a storyteller who, appropriately enough, is in the process of finding his own voice by rewriting his family’s history – is that while restlessness is a common experience, we each have a unique story to tell, and the act of narration alone can lead to deliverance, even if we never stop moving: “She had packed up her entire life before, and now, six months later, if she had learned anything at all about herself, it was that she could do with far less. She could, if she wanted, get away with almost nothing.” — Ellen
For my birthday I received a gorgeous, red-cloth edition of The Elements of Style, the iconic grammar and composition guide written by William Strunk in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1957 and again in 1979. This 2005 edition adds glorious illustrations from the magical, witty Maria Kalman, whose work I first fell in love with when it appeared in the New York Times op-ed pages. Grammar nerds, you just may find yourself scratching your pet rules onto bathroom walls. (“Do not join independent clauses with a comma.” Rule 5.) (I’m serious. Don’t do it.)
— Krista
This is a stealth book, a cat burglar of a book. Neil and his bizarre situation (dad reincarnated as a computer, yes, Douglas Coupland territory somehow) crept up on me and became the most important thing on my literary landscape. The more I read, the more I cared. Super-smart, witty, original and the sneaking feeling that this could be you if you lived in Silicon Valley and were between relationships. Read it and find out. — Linda
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

— William Shakespeare
is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

— Frank O’Hara
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine
the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you and this

is what it is like or what it is like in words.

— Carol Ann Duffy
F. Scott Fitzgerald on the secret of great writing
Daniel Mendelsohn on literary criticism

Books interview with Francine Prose
Walt Whitman in comic strip

George Saunders: a life in writing
New Yorker fiction podcast: Love by William Maxwell

Sharon Olds on transforming life into art
Rumpus interview with Margaret Atwood

Finding an audience abroad: which American novelists are read France?
Interview with Dave Eggers

— James Baldwin

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