Tag Archives: Paris

Alumni Spotlight: Arts & Culture Writer Rawaa Talass

A wide array of students from the four corners of the globe choose to pursue the MA Programmes offered at the Paris School of Arts and Culture (PSAC). In our Alumni Spotlight series we touch base with some of our graduates to see what they are doing today and how their studies at PSAC has influenced their career path. In this edition, we connected with a graduate of our History and Philosophy of Art Master’s, arts and culture writer Rawaa Talass. She is also the founder and editor aRTproject, a daily online platform dedicated to the history of art with a focus on women in the arts from all ages. Read on to learn more about Rawaa’s background, studies and current activities.

Where are you from and what originally brought you to Paris?

I’m originally from Syria and was raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where I still live. What brought me to Paris was a need to feel inspired again and to start a new experience. At that point in my life, in 2015, I had developed an interest in artists and their works and decided to study art history. I was really excited when I got into the Kent programme in Paris, which was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

 What attracted you most about studying at PSAC? 

I think location was key. For a long time, France had been renowned for promoting its rich cultural heritage through public institutions. Growing up in Dubai, we didn’t have art museums to explore. I wanted to train my eye by observing art as much as I could. One of the nice things about the MA programme was the several field trips my classmates and I were treated to. For instance, if we did a reading on Cézanne, we would go to the Musée d’Orsay to see his paintings and so on. I think to appreciate art, you need to experience it in the flesh..

 What were some of the highlights of your experience?

I have many fond memories – from the places I saw to the people I met. Strangely enough, I felt a stronger connection to my Middle Eastern roots when I was in Paris, as there are regional elements in the city’s cultural and architectural landscape — something I wrote about here.  So I would say that the highlight of my studies in Paris was meeting Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran for an interview for my MA dissertation. It focused on her patronage of the arts in her country during the 1960s and 1970s. Due to the Islamic Revolution of 1979, her activities were brought to a halt and she is currently exiled in Paris. Looking back, my dissertation was the most extensive piece of writing I ever undertook and it taught me how to be a better researcher.

 What are you currently doing and how did that opportunity come about? 

I’m a freelance journalist, writing articles on art, culture and society of the Middle East and its diaspora communities, mostly for regional media outlets. In 2017, I was a trainee at the Art Dubai fair, where I assisted in the communications department. Through my work there, I kept coming across the name of a publication called ‘Arab News’, and when I finished my traineeship I sent the editorial team an email pitch. I wasn’t even sure I was going to get a response. To my surprise, I did. In 2018, my first article for Arab News (a Saudi-based English daily newspaper founded in 1975) was published as a front-page story, which was surreal, on the opening of a new arts centre in Dubai. I’ve been regularly and predominantly contributing articles for them ever since.

If you would like to read about a more hopeful and creative side of the Arab world, please visit www.rawaatalass.com.

Merci beaucoup Rawaa!

Connect with Rawaa on her social media platforms:

Twitter: artprojectdxb
Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

The Evolving City: The Best Contemporary Architecture in Paris

Parisians have not always been welcoming to modern architecture. The city itself underwent massive urban restructuring in the mid-19th century during the rule of Napoléon III and overseen by Prefect Baron Haussmann (covered in our Architecture and Urban Design Master’s Degree Programme). It wasn’t until a century later that the city experienced another wave of ‘modernism’, mostly relegated outside the city centre in the La Défense business district, although a few modern buildings popped up intramuros, such as the eclectic Centre Pompidou and the predominantly unpopular Tour Montparnasse. The 1980s and 90s saw the arrival of Les Grands Projets, a series of large scale building works instigated by President Mitterrand, including the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Opera Bastille, the Pyramid of the Louvre and the Grand Arche de la Défense. But how has the cityscape changed since then? From designs by Jean Nouvel to the return of Renzo Piano, here are the most notable examples of contemporary architecture in Paris built since the start of the 21st century.

Photo Credit: Fondation Louis Vuitton

Fondation Louis Vuitton – Frank Gehry (2014)

The recent building that has received the most unanimous praise from critics and citizens alike is this gleaming art centre nestled within the Bois de Boulogne woods at the western edge of Paris. In true Gehry form, mammoth curvaceous glass panels on wooden frames, nicknamed the “sails”, are at the forefront; these sit atop white blocks, or “icebergs”, which seem to float in pools of water. The sleek building hosts temporary exhibits revolving around the works of the Louis Vuitton fashion house collection, however, the building itself is well-worth visiting in its own right.

Photo Credit: Philharmonie de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris –  Jean Nouvel (2015)

No other architect has left their mark on modern Paris than Jean Nouvel. His latest Parisian building, la Philharmonie de Paris, located within the Parc de la Villette in northeastern Paris, certainly does not leave one indifferent. Created for the Symphony Orchestra of Paris, Nouvel paid particular attention to its 2,400 seat-auditorium, which has a central stage encircled by undulating tiers of seating to bring the audience as close to the musicians as possible. The eye-catching metallic exterior is enveloped in 265,000 aluminium birds which appear to swirl up around the building, perhaps dancing to the music performed within?

Photo Credit: Tribunal de Paris

Tribunal de Paris – Renzo Piano (2018)

Forty years after designing the Centre Pompidou in tandem with Richard Rogers, Italian architect Renzo Piano’s return to the Parisian architecture scene was not met with as much enthusiasm as the iconic modern art museum. The tallest building constructed in Paris since the 56-story Tour Montparnasse was completed in 1973, the new 38-floor Paris court house shimmers on the northwest fringes of the city, so much so, that the building almost goes unnoticed. The glass tower makes up for its lacklustre looks courtesy of its sustainability facilities including solar panels, enhanced thermal insulation, rainwater collection and other cutting edge eco-friendly technology.

la Seine Musicale

Photo Credit: la Seine Musicale

La Seine Musicale – Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines (2017)

Located in a crook of the Seine off of the southwestern suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, the former industrial island of Île Seguin, was given new life thanks to this dazzling concert hall. A play on words blending its location and its purpose, La Seine Musicale was a collaboration between French architect Jean de Gastines and Japanese Shigeru Ban, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The oval-shaped structure is encased in glass sexagons and is hugged by a curved grouping of solar panels which creates a dramatic effect akin to a musical crescendo. The auditorium is equally impressive, with a ceiling of wooden honey-combs mirroring the exterior panels. Even if you don’t get to see the interior during one of its concerts or dance performances, a tour of the exterior still impresses.

Cité de la Mode et Design Paris

Photo Credit: Cité de la Mode et Design

La Cité de la Mode et du Design / Les Docks de Paris –  Jakob + MacFarlane (2010)

The arrival of the new Bibliothèque Nationale in 1990s, ushered in a new urban era for the northeast section of the 13th arrondissement which, especially over the last 10 years, has developed into the most exciting hub of Parisian contemporary architecture. The best known, and most recognisable example is this daring building. The French architectural firm of Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane deftly succeeded in converting an early 20th century concrete shipping depot into a hip centre for fashion and design. One can’t miss it thanks to the swooshing wave of green passageways dissecting the river-facing façade. The building houses the French Institute of Fashion, contemporary art exhibition spaces, shops and several bars on its sprawling rooftop.

Musée du Quai Branly

Photo Credit: Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac – Jean Nouvel (2006)

In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower is former President Jacques Chirac’s legacy to Paris, also designed by Jean Nouvel. According to the architect, the museum was built around the collection it was due to host; the French state’s 300,000 works from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Perched on stilts and hidden within trees, the building consists of large suspended, multi-colored boxes juxtaposed by a vast vertical garden, one of the city’s first, covering one entire wall. Rising in a spiral, the interiors guide visitors on an organic flow throughout the displays. It also has a rooftop restaurant with stunning views of the Tour Eiffel.


Photo Credit: la Tour Triangle

This wave of contemporary architecture is far from over. Keep your eyes on the city’s horizon in the coming years for the arrival of Herzog & de Meuron’s Tour Triangle and a number of new soaring towers at la Défense, which will come dangerously close to the Eiffel Tower’s height of 324 metres.

Immerse yourself in the city’s architectural evolution by pursuing our Architecture and Urban Design Master’s Programme. Discover more about our other MA Programmes in Paris here.

Exploring LGBTQ History in Paris

February is LGBTQ History Month in the UK. Here at the Paris School of Arts and Culture, we are commemorating this by putting spotlight on a selection of queer writers, artists, performers, filmmakers and innovators, both French and foreign, who left an important mark on Paris, a city which has long been a more liberating and welcoming place for non-conforming creatives. Some are also featured in our MA Programmes in Film, Creative Writing and the Philosophy of Art History.

Novelist and Playwright Rachilde


symbolist novelist and playwright, gender-bender Rachilde became one of the most important writers of the late 19th century. Born in the French countryside in 1860, at the age of 18 Marguerite Vallette-Eymery moved to Paris, adopting a masculine haircut, started wearing men’s clothing and took up the pen name and gender ambiguous identity of Rachilde. Introduced via a cousin to the world-renowned actress Sarah Benhardt, Rachilde quickly integrated into the Parisian cultural world. Rachilde began hosting a weekly literary salon which was popular with other non-conformist writers and intellectuals. Rachilde is best known for the controversial erotic novel, Monsieur Venus, published in 1884 and which led being tried for pornography and convicted in absentia in Belgium. 

Rachilde, along with Jane Dieulafoy and Marc de Montifaudtwo other late 19th century writers who also did not conform to the era’s notions of femininity, are examined by Dr Rachel Mesch in her recent book Before TransDr Rachel Mesch was a recent guest of  the American Library in Paris’ Evenings with AAuthor series. You can view the recording of this discussion at this link. 

Writer Oscar Wilde and lover Alfred Douglas

Oscar Wilde 

Over the last 150 years, Paris became a haven for various foreign queer creativesone of the earliest being Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. In 1895, at the height of his success, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency with men and sentenced to two years of hard labour. Immediately upon his release, he exiled himself in France, first living in the northern seaside town of Berneval-le-Grand with his lover Robert Ross. This is where he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem describing the harsh realities of prison life. Wilde eventually moved to Paris, renting a room at l’Hôtel d’Alsace, a dingy hotel in the Saint-Germain neighhourhood which has since been transformed into the chic L’Hôtel. Impoverished, this is wherWilde tragically died of meningitis on 30 November 1900. His tomb in Pere Lachaise cemetery has become a pilgrimage site for fans the world over. In addition to Wilde’s own writings, the writer was the topic of the 2018 film The Happy Prince written and directed by, and starring Rupert Everett. 

Colette in the “Dream of Egypt” show at the Moulin-Rouge in 1907, photo: Léopold-Émile Reutlinger / CC


Often considered as France’s greatest femme de lettres, Colette was open about her lesbian relationships (first encouraged by her first husband) and challenged gender norms throughout her career. In addition to writing, she was also a theatre performer and mime. During one such performance at the Moulin Rouge in 1907, entitled “La Reve d’Egypte (“The Dream of Egypt”), she caused an immense scandal by passionately kissing her lover, Mathilde de Morny, on stage. Colette wrote over 30 works, her most famous being the novella Gigi. Published in 1944, the book recounts the story of a young courtesan who defies tradition by marrying her wealthy lover. It was later adapted to film, first in 1949 by French director Jacqueline Audry and then in 1957 as a Hollywood musical film which went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. She too was the subject of a biopic in 2018; simply entitled Colette, it was directed by Wash Westmoreland and starred Keira Knightley.

Gertrude Stein, Basket and Alice B. Toklas in LIFE Magazine, Photography by Carl Mydans

Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas  

Influential figures in early 20th century literary and artistic circles, the American couple first met in Paris in 1906 and remained together until Stein’s death in 1946. In addition to collecting artthey hosted weekly salons in their apartment on rue Fleurus, which attracted to top artist and writers of the era. Stein wrote several books, including one on the great Spanish painter, Picasso(studied in our Modernism and Paris module of our Paris MA Programmes) and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, a quasi-memoir of their Paris years written in the voice of Alice B. Toklas. Tolkas also published a few works: two cookbooks and an autobiography entitled What Is Remembered.  

Coccinelle in Europa di Notte, directed by Alessandro Blasetti


A transgender French actress, entertainer and singer, Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy, who went by the stage name Coccinelle (French for ladybug/ladybird), was the first widely publicised post-war gender reassignment case in Europe. She made her debut as a transgender performer in 1953 at Madame Arthur, Paris’s first drag cabaret (which is still open and puts on an excellent show)In 1958 she underwent a vaginoplasty in Casablanca and became a media sensation upon returning to France. Her career continued to flourish, both on stage and on screen. I1960 she married journalist Francis Bonne, which was the first transgender union to be legally recognised in FranceThroughout her life, she was also an important advocate for transgender rights. 

Living In Arcadia André Baudry  

Living In Arcadia by Julian Jackson and André Baudry

André Baudry  

A former seminarian and philosophy professorAndré Baudry founded Arcadie in 1954, France’s first organisation for “homophiles, a term Baudry preferred to “homosexuals”. A magazine and clubhouse followed soon afterwards. At the time, it was the only public voice for French gays and, over the course of its 30-year history, it became the largest group of its kind in France. The organisation garnered the support of a range of personalities from Jean Cocteau to Michel Foucault, however, that isn’t to say things were always smooth sailing. After its launch, the magazine was censured and forbidden for sale to minors. In 1955, Baudry himself was prosecuted for “outrage aux bonnes mœurs” (outrage against good morals), convicted, and fined 400,000 francs. The history of the organisation, and this time period in France, are explored in Historian Julian Jackson’s book Living in Arcadia (University of Chicago Press, 2009).  

Writer James Balwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956)

James Baldwin 

American writer and activist James Baldwin first came to Paris at the age of 24, attracted to the greater freedom France offered him as both a person of colour and a homosexual. Shortly after his arrival, Baldwin got involved in the cultural radicalism movement that was brewing in the Rive GaucheHe was also working on his second novel, Giovanni’s Roomwhich was published in 1956. Set in Paris, the story revolves around a tormented love affair between the American narrator, David, and Giovanni, an Italian bartender. The book caused considerable controversy at the time of its publication due to its homoerotic content, but went on to become a seminal work in queer literatureYou can delve further into Giovanni’s Room in this powerpoint by Kent staff member Dr Declan Kavanagh or this article in the Guardian. Baldwin spent much of the rest of his life living in France, namely in the southern French village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where he settled in 1970. The writer’s contributions to the Paris’s cultural heritage will be honoured with a new media library dedicated to him, scheduled to open in 2023.  

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, 1983. Foundation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent.

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé 

Partners in life and business, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s impact on Paris’s creative world went far beyond fashion. Working as a designer for Dior, Yves Saint Laurent met businessman Pierre Bergé in 1958. They went on to launch Yves Saint Laurent’s own fashion house together in 1961. Although the couple’s relationship ended in 1976, they remained lifelong friends and business partners. In 2002 they created the Fondation Pierre-Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in the designer’s former studio and offices, housed in a historic mansion in the 16th district of Paris. It hosts temporary exhibits on Saint Laurent’s work and provides support to cultural institutions and projects. You can view their collection online here or you may like to watch one of the two French films on the designer released in 2014; Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent and Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, which was an official selection at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. You’ll have to watch both to decide which one you think is best! 


Further Resources  

120 bpm – This is another recent film we can highly recommendThe movie chronicles how ACT UP Paris fought to increase awareness of queer rights and information on the AIDS crisiin the early 1990s in France. Directed by Robin Campillo, it won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2017 and six César Awards (the French Oscars) including Best Film. 

Les Mots à la Bouche – You can find an extensive collection of books and DVDs at this LGBTQ bookshop located in the 11th arrondissement. 

LGBTQ Centre Paris – This popular community centre in the Marais organises workshops, talkshas lending library and is a great resource on LGBTQ events, culture, wellbeing and activism in Paris.

What to do in Paris right now: 5 Covid and curfew safe activities 

Although many of Paris cultural institutions, including museums, historic sites and cinemas, are temporarily closed due to Covid-19 safety protocols, there are still a number of ways in which one can experience culture. From street art tours to virtual literary events, here are five creative alternatives cultural things to do in Paris that are both safe and accessible.

Street Art murals - Paris 75013

Street Art murals, Paris 75013. Photo: Lily Heise

Get Your Art Fix

Museums may be currently closed, however, most private art galleries around the city are open. Many of the best contemporary galleries are located in the Upper Marais, on and around rue Vieille du Temple (some are listed here). Or if you’re interested in more alternative contemporary art, you can discover Parisian street art by following one of these self-guided walking tours around Belleville or the 13th, two of the city’s top street art hubs.

Ten Belles Coffee Paris

Photo Courtesy of Ten Belles Paris

Enjoy Some Café Life

Although we are not able to sit on café terraces for the time being, a number of modern coffee shops are open for takeaway. Plus, the following ones are also close to great places for strolling, coffee in hand: Ten Belles (near the Canal St-Martin), Café Kitsuné (close to the Palais-Royal Garden and the Tuileries Gardens) KBOla’s Café and Marlette (bordering Montmartre).


Experience French Cinema Culture

Film culture is very important in Paris and fortunately this isn’t completely paused right now. The Franco-German channel Arte is streaming some great free movies and documentaries, Lost in Frenchlation, a cool organisation which screens French cinema with subtitles in English and usually with Q&A with the director, is hosting some virtual events (the next one is Sat 23 January), or MyFrenchFilmFestival.com is currently taking place (through 15 February).

Author Rowan Hisayo Buchanan and her books Harmless Like you and Starling Days

Attend Literary Events

While in-person book readings and signings are on hold, there is a wide range of virtual events taking place. The American Library in Paris has several book groups as well as regular author talks (there are somegreat events coming up – rsvp required) or consider joining the Feminist Book Club (next online event 28 January), Paris Lit Up or one of these book clubs. These excellent English bookshops are also open right now.

Kent’s School of English also holds virtual events via its weekly Creative Writing Reading Series, held Tuesdays 6-7pm (GMT). On 26 January the guest will be Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, award-winning author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days. Join via Zoom here.

Photo courtesy of Chateau de Fontainebleau

Explore Ile-de-France

If you had been hoping to visit some of the historic sites in the Ile-de-France, the greater Parisian region, there are actually various opportunities. Although the interiors are closed for now, the gardens of many castles are still opened, like Versailles and Fontainebleau (the latter is also organizing tours of the gardens in French on weekends through the end of January). There are dozens of charming historic towns that are easy to get to from central Paris, like Provins, a well-preserved medieval town which is only an hour’s train ride away.

Immerse yourself in Paris and French culture through our MA programmes in Film Studies, the Philosophy of Art, Creative Writing and Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Learn more about our programmes here.

Queer author Yelena Moskovich on the rise of the lesbian aesthetic - Vogue

Creative Writing Lecturer Yelena Moskovich publishes article in Vogue

Author Yelena Moskovich, lecturer in our Creative Writing MA Programme at the Paris School of Arts and Culture, has published a new article in Vogue Australia.

Entitled Queer Author Yelena Moskovich on the Rise of the Lesbian Aesthetic, Moskovich postulates that historically lesbian has been a style of woman, but not a woman with style. She explores this over the decades in fashion and illustrates how this is shifting as designers and stylists are re-focusing the measure of allure away from sexualised male governance; rewriting the feminine aesthetic free from the male gaze.

Read the full article at this link.

Laurent Binet – Creative Writing Reading Series

Creative Writing Reading Series

Laurent Binet 

Thursday 9 February 2017

6.30pm at Reid Hall, in the Salle de Conférence
4 rue de Chevreuse, Montparnasse, Paris 75006
All welcome.

Award-winner French author Laurent Binet will be reading from and talking about his book ‘The 7th function of language’ (2015), a story about Roland Barthes and the power of language. Binet’s novel starts with Barthes’ death, and assumes the death is an assassination. In the political and intellectual world of the time, everyone is a suspect…

“A brilliantly erudite comedy that recalls Flaubert’s Parrot and The Name of the Rose—with more than a dash of The Da Vinci CodeThe Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Saint-Germain to the corridors of Cornell University, and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.” – Macmillan Publishers

Laurent Binet was born in Paris. His first novel, ‘HHhH’, was named one of the fifty best books of 2015 by The New York Times and received the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. He is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature.

Spring Term: Politics of Translation – Translating Cultures


in association with:

University of London Institute in Paris
Columbia Global Centers Paris
American University of Paris


Politics of Translation – Translating Cultures

Spring Term 2017

All seminars are at Reid Hall

4 rue de Chevreuse, Montparnasse, Paris 75006 (métro: Vavin)

2 February 2017                  Anna Schaffner                     Grande Salle

‘Our Age of Exhaustion’

16 February 2017                Claire Joubert                        Grande Salle

‘Saussure the ethnographer: Peoples, the popular, and non-identity in Europe’

11 March 2017                    Ensemble Quintitus              Grande Salle

‘Soufflé Coupé : A Minute at Noon’, Chamber Music concert

30 March 2017                     Abdulrazak Gurnah              Grande Salle, 7 pm

‘Rendered into English’

23 May 2017                       Martin Hammer                      Grande Salle, 6:30pm

‘David Hockney: transatlantic artist’

— free and open to all —

Spring Term: Creative Reading Writing Series


Creative Writing Reading Series

Spring Term 2017

All readings are at 6.30pm at Reid Hall

4 rue de Chevreuse, Montparnasse, Paris 75006 (métro: Vavin)

26 January 2017                  Fariba Hachtroudi                 Grande Salle


9 February 2017                  Laurent Binet                         Salle de Conférence


23 February 2017                David Szalay                          Maison Verte


22 March 2017                     Lee Ann Brown                     Salle de Conférence

— free and open to all —

New MA Programme: European Culture

Kent’s new MA in European Culture makes it possible to study the history, literature, and political philosophies of the continent while based in Paris, Europe’s cultural capital.

Europe is at the heart of many contemporary political debates, and is a geographically, linguistically and culturally diverse continent with a rich history. From the French Revolution to the European Union, Europe has long been a placeholder for any number of utopian, internationalist aspirations. To trace the history of the cultural constructions of Europe is to hold a mirror up to its changing intellectual faces.

The programme is offered by the Department of Modern Languages, and benefits from staff expertise in a variety of disciplines across the School of European Culture and Languages.  The MA offers you the chance to immerse yourself fully in European culture in order to enhance your linguistic skills and cultural understanding. Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture is based at Reid Hall, where authors and philosophers such as Barthes, Beauvoir and Derrida have lectured, and in the heart of historic Montparnasse, where Picasso and Modigliani had their studios.

The programme consists of one core module, ‘The Idea of Europe’, and three further taught modules, followed by a final dissertation. All modules are taught in English.

This is an ideal programme for anyone with an interest in the rapidly changing political history of Europe, in its diverse literature, or in the experience and independence gained from living and studying overseas for an extended period of time.

 For more information, go to our programmes page.

A Moveable Feast – Being Human in Paris

Professor Sarah Churchwell

Director of the Being Human Festival (School of Advanced Studies)

6:30pm, Wednesday 23 November

Reid Hall

4 rue de chevreuse, 75006 Paris, Metro: Vavin

(Photo credit: @colleensparis and @tremblay_p)

The University of London Institute in Paris and the University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Culture are joining forces to bring the Being Human Festival to Paris with a roundtable event. This evening will be an opportunity to discuss the importance of literature and the Humanities in the wake of the attacks in Paris one year ago. After these events which turned spaces of festivity into targets for acts of terror, people laid copies of Hemingway’s Moveable Feast on the improvised shrines dotted around the areas affected. The title in French – Paris est une fête – stood out as a defiant refusal of the terror that had been unleashed on the city. What does this turn to literature, and to a text written by an American about the expatriate community in the Années Folles of the interwar era, tell us about why literature remains a vital response to violent ideologies? We will address this question and the importance of writing and translation in the heart of Hemingway’s old stamping ground of Montparnasse, bringing French and British perspectives to the question of why the Humanities help us be human better.

Featuring contemporary British writer Joanna Walsh, recently described by Deborah Levy as “fast becoming one of our most important writers,” and Professor Claire Joubert, who leads the “Poétique de l’étranger” programme and is author of numerous studies of English and Anglophone literature at the intersection between poetics and politics.


The event will feature contemporary British writer Joanna Walsh, recently described by Deborah Levy as “fast becoming one of our most important writers,” and Professor Claire Joubert, who leads the “Poétique de l’étranger” programme and is author of numerous studies of English and Anglophone literature at the intersection between poetics and politics.

  • Sarah Churchwell is one of the UK’s most prominent academics. Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities and Professorial Fellow in American Literature, Institute of English Studies (School of Advanced Study) since 2015, she is the author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe (2004) and Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby (2013). Sarah was also on the judging panel for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
  • Claire Joubert is Professor of English Literature at Université Paris 8. She is the author of Critiques de l’anglais. Poétique et politique d’une langue mondialisée, (2015) and editor of recent collaborative volumes Le Postcolonial comparé. Anglophonie, francophonie (2014) and Comparer l’étranger. Enjeux du comparatisme en littérature (2006).
  • Joanna Walsh is the author of Hotel, Vertigo, Grow a Pair, and Fractals. Her writing has also been published by Granta Magazine, The Dalkey Archive Best European Fiction 2015, Best British Short Stories 2014 and 2015, The Stinging Fly, gorse journal, The Dublin Review and others. She reviews at The New Statesman and The Guardian. She edits at 3:AM Magazine and Catapult, and is the founder of @read_women. She is a judge on the 2016 Goldsmiths prize, and is a PhD candidate in Creative and Critical writing at the University of East Anglia.
  • Peter Brown is Professor of Medieval English Literature and Director of the University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Culture. He is the author of numerous studies of Chaucer and also, in 2013, of Tango, a meditation on the way in which tango mediates touch through technique and decorum.

This panel is organised by Dr Anna-Louise Milne (ULIP) and will be chaired by Professor Peter Brown (Kent).

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The event is free but numbers are limited; please register in advance to reserve your place.

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