Roma Tearne at Shakespeare & Co.

Tearne03gText: Brendan Seibel

Roma Tearne is a painter, an installation artist, a filmmaker and an author. Her comfort in a myriad of mediums, the exploration of complex emotions, and constant creative reinvention are probably honed by her background.  Half-Tamil and half-Sinhalese she escaped to England with her parents, exiled by their families and forced to assimilatedinto a new culture as her homeland descended into half a century of conflict.

A successful visual artist, Tearne's decision to take up the pen fulfills a life long love affair with literature. Her first novel Mosquito was shortlisted for both the Costa First Novel Award and the Kiriyama Prize. Her follow-up Bone China, and most recent work Brixton Beach both garnered praise.

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Events at Théâtre de l'Odéon : Žižek, Ndiaye and Disiz

Zizek Text: Joanna Bronowicka

This Thursday, March 11, Théâtre de l’Odéon will host Slavoj Žižek, undoubtedly the most eccentric figure in contemporary philosophy. Originally from Slovenia, Žižek is a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana and a professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, but he is often associated Paris VIII and philosophers Alain Badiou and Jaques Ranciere.  A declared atheist, who claims that “churches should be turned into grain silos or palaces of culture," he will give a lectured entitled Christianity between perversion and subversion. The growing popularity of Žižek cannot be explained by the accessibility of his writings - he mixes theories of Marx, Hegel and Lacan with references to the latest blockbusters or political scandals in an almost hallucinatory style. Witty and full of unpredictable twists and turns, his public lectures make philosophy a form of entertainment. 

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Goli Taraghi at Village Voice bookshop re-scheduled Thursday 25th February


Text: Brendan Seibel
Photo: Setareh Soleimani

Struggling writers seeking inspiration and a breakthroughs have long emigrated to Paris. Iranian author Goli Taraghi was already established when she came, leaving her homeland during the Revolution. She is caught between two worlds, educated in, but unknown, in the West, carefully navigating the Islamic bureaucracy while unwilling to compromise for American markets. Now, in the wake of renewed political violence amidst celebrations of the Shah's overthrow, Taraghi will discuss her collection A Mansion in the Sky.

Active in the Persian literary scene since the 60's, managing to achieve popularity and critical acceptance as a woman, her work has been mostly ignored abroad. That the topic of Thursday's appearance is a book published nearly a decade ago illustrates one challenge of an artist in exile. With few collections and novels translated, her coming lecture will provide an insight otherwise unobtainable but unquestionably vital in these turbulent times.

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Shakespeare and Co. Literary Festival in June

P1120767 Paris' favourite bookstore, Shakespeare and Co. has announced the names of a few of the incredible authors who will be coming to this year's literary festival which will take place from 18th to 20th June, 2024. This year's theme will be Storytelling, Politics and the Imagination. The list of authors participating in this year's edition of the festival include Nam Le, Ian McEwan, David Hare, John Berger, Petina Gappah and many others. The full list of participants will be announced next on Shakespeare and Co website and newsletter.

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Heather Hartley's Book Launch Party at Shakespeare and Co.

Heather_04 Text: Brendan Seibel

Monday's book launch of Knock Knock, Heather Hartley's first collection of poems, could only take place in the attic of Shakespeare & Co. The American writer serves as co-director of the bookshop's annual literary festival and master of ceremonies for their weekly readings. An editor with Tin House magazine and instructor of creative writing at The American University of Paris, Hartley belongs amongst the pages and ghosts of literati past. The pieces which comprise Knock Knock have been previously published across a broad swath of literary journals: Post Road Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, The St. Petersburg Review, Pharos Magazine among them. The diversity of venue mirrors that of Hartley's work, which ranges in the broadest of terms from traditionalist two line stanzas to a more modern form of short prose.

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Artazart Design Bookstore

Inside Artazart low res Text and image: Joel Ma

In the 21st century everyone knows at least one graphic designer. They usually have a keen eye for visual metaphor, impeccable personal hygiene and may or may not wear slim rectangular, black plastic glasses. If the bookshop Artazart were a person, it would be your Graphic designer friend. Artazart stocks a staggering selection of books on photography, architecture, art, web design, graffiti, journals, magazines, children books, bags, cameras, art resources and anything of a stylish visual nature. It announces its presence on the banks of the  Canal St Martin with a bright orange shop front, elegant font and warm lighting. It has been operating for the last ten years and has seen various incarnations including converted gallery to bookshop/gallery to bookshop with a comprehensive online store.

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Mavis Gallant at the Village Voice Bookshop

Mavis gallant Mavis Gallant in Paris in the 1950s.

This Thursday at 7pm, the legendary Canadian writer Mavis Gallant, will deliver a reading from her new book The Cost of Living: Early and Uncollected Stories. The event will take place at the Village Voice Bookshop at 6, rue Princesse, Paris 6. Mavis Gallant is an acclaimed writer who contributes regularly in The New Yorker. The Cost of Living.... is an extensive new sampling of Gallant's short stories written between 1951 and 1971. The stories are set in locations as diverse as Quebec, postwar Europe, New York, New England during the Mad Man era, Germany, French Riviera and finally Paris, where Gallant has resided for many years.

Jhumpa Lahiri, who wrote an introduction tho The Cost of Living asserts that Malvis Gallant is "one of the greatest literary artists of her time." John Updike agrees, "Mavis Gallant's talent is as versatile and witty as it is somber and empathetic."Gallant's stories are at once satirical, lyrical, passionate and skeptical, perfectly calibrated and in constant motion, brilliantly capturing the fatal untidiness of life. As Alberto Mangue writes, "We come away from her stories with a keener knowledge of ourselves."

Hamlet Cabaret Théâtre de l’Odéon

File_793_big_aff_Hamlet Text by Joanna Bronowicka  

Matthias Langhoff finally returns to the Théâtre de l’Odéon with his extraordinary interpretation of the most staged tragedy of all time. In Hamlet-Cabaret he has dissected Shakespeare’s play into sparkling and entertaining fragments. Surprisingly, in the dreamlike ambiance of an old cabaret resounding with absurd humor and vaudeville melodies, the original text reveals its full beauty once again.

Langhoff sits his audience at café tables in front of two asymmetric stages, where Hamlet’s friend Horatio becomes a female, Horatia; Ophelia is not a noblewoman, but a daughter of a public functionary; Prince Hamlet is played by an actor twice the age of his mother, Queen Gertrud; his uncle Claudius, played by an actor from Burkina-Faso, speaks with a heavy African accent; and a live horse makes several silent appearances on stage.

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Creative Writing Classes for the Autumn

For any aspirational writers out there in need of refinement and inspiration....

Hemmingway manuscript Artist and essayist Sarah Riggs will lead a class in creative writing at the Tamaas Foundation,  84 rue de Ménilmontant, 20e starting on September 29th. Her classes explore poetry and journal writing, and will offer her own experience as well as that of other writers for a supportive environment. 

The first class will be Tuesday September 29th from 16:30 to 18:30.  Email sarah direct at sriggs (at) for more information.

John Baxter, co-director of the Paris writers workshop, is offering a series of three-day Master Classes on the writing of memoir, biography and autobiography. 

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20 Summer Reading

Zweig-voyage-dans-le-passe.1232985089 1. Le voyage dans le passé Stefan Zweig
2. The Brass Verdict: A Novel Michael Connelly
3. D'autres vies que la mienne Emmanuel Carrère
4. Leaving the World Douglas Kennedy
5. Un temps fou Laurence Tardieu
6. One Fifth Avenue Candace Bushnell
7. Sur ma mère Tahar Ben Jelloun
8. Que je serai sans-toi? Guillaume Mussot
9. If I Stay Gayle Foreman
10. Julius Winsome Gerard Donovan
11. La mauvais rencontre Philippe Grimbert
12. Un Don Toni Morrison
13. La Brève et Merveilleuse Vie d'Oscar Wao Junot Diaz
Ma solitude s'appelle Brando d'Arno Bertina 
15. CharismFuyuki Shindo, Tsutomu Yashioji, Taisei Nishizaki
The Outsider Tanabe Gou
17. Là où les tigres sont chez eux Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
18. Les Yeux jaunes des crocodiles Katherine Pancol
19. L'Univers Hubert Haddad
20. L'Alfa Romeo Annie Cohen

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