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Dedicated to the best of French literature in English translation, the Beyond Words festival will mark the reopening of the French Institute on 17 May 2021. Great literature is back, in top form and in touch with current events, to help us better understand the world around us.

On the occasion of the publication of The Art of Losing and A Bookshop in Algiers in English translation, the young Franco-Algerian novelists Alice Zeniter and Kaouther Adimi will look at the complex passions that unite France and Algeria in a conversation that promises to be as fascinating as their respective novels. This literary encounter will be accompanied by the screening of Rebecca Zlotowski’s series Les Sauvages.

The Franco-Iranian journalist Delphine Minoui, winner of the Albert Londres Prize and author of the moving book The Book Collectors of Daraya, will discuss with the Syrian writer Dima Wannous, author of the novel Ceux qui ont peur, the importance of literature during the Syrian civil war, before introducing the screening of her documentary, Daraya: A Library Under Bombs in Syria.

With the help of British novelist Alex Preston, French author Laurent Binet will describe a strange political fiction, seen through the prism of the Aztecs landing in Europe before Christopher Columbus, in his breath-taking uchrony Civilisations.

As part of the 2020 Year of Comics, which will continue until June 2021, the cartoonists Sébastien Verdier and Lionel Richerand will introduce us to Freud’s American adventures and Orwell’s Indian, Burmese or Irish adventures in comic strips, under the enlightened and enlightening gaze of Paul Gravett.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marcel Proust, we will travel through time thanks to Antoine Compagnon, from the Collège de France, who will talk to us about the author of In Search of Lost Time in the company of Christopher Prendergast from the University of Cambridge. This commemoration will also be an opportunity to watch Le Temps retrouvé by the great filmmaker Raoul Ruiz.

We will travel through time but also through the world of arts and craft with novelist Maylis de Kerangal who will talk about her existential and aesthetic learning novel, the very atmospheric Painting Time. We’ll explore languages with novelist and translator Jakuta Alikavazovic, author of the excellent novel Night as it falls, and Daniel Medin, who will explore together the richness of literary translation and its political power. And, last but not least, we will venture into the depths of the human soul under the captivating guidance of Olivier Norek, former captain of the Seine Saint-Denis judicial police, screenwriter and author of successful crime novels.

Exclusive conversations with renowned personalities and emerging voices, readings, meetings, but also film adaptations, music and surprises… Demandez le programme!

More info here.



May 17
May 23


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