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French author Colombe Schneck and Franco-American writer Lauren Elkin will discuss their latest UK publications, Swimming in Paris: A Life in Three Stories (Simon & Schuster) and Scaffolding (Penguin Random House).

Swimming in Paris, written by Colombe Schneck and translated by Lauren Elkin, narrates a woman’s personal journey through abortion, sex, friendship, love, and swimming. Schneck’s prose maintains an unwavering intimacy, vividly depicting experiences from a teenage abortion amidst a privileged Parisian upbringing to the nuances of long friendships and midlife romance.

Scaffolding, written by Lauren Elkin, is a novel set in Paris, exploring themes of desire, love, psychoanalysis, and the complex affairs of two couples across time. It delves into the emotional structures we build around ourselves and what lingers in memory and association after ending relationships or severing ties.

Both books explore issues of sexuality, bodily autonomy, and femininity, providing a nuanced meditation on the implications and transformations associated with the lifelong journey of becoming a woman.

Colombe Schneck and Lauren Elkin will be in conversation with lecturer in French Studies at Queen’s University of Belfast, Dr Adina Stroia.

Followed by a book signing with Colombe Schneck and Lauren Elkin. The bookstore 'La Page' will sell copies of their books at the entrance.

Colombe Schneck is a documentary film director, a journalist, and the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction. Her works have earned numerous prizes, including her book on Brigitte Bardot, May 1967, which was designated the Summer Novel of 2014 by the jury of the Prix Messardière. A recipient of a Villa Medici scholarship and a Stendhal grant, Schneck was born, raised, and continues to live in Paris.

Lauren Elkin is a writer, essayist and translator. Her notable works include 'Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art' and 'Flâneuse', which was recognised by The New York Times Book Review and a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award. Her essays on art, literature, and culture have appeared in the London Review of Books, Harper’s, Le Monde, among other publications. An accomplished translator, she has recently translated Simone de Beauvoir’s previously unpublished novel The Inseparables. After two decades in Paris, she now resides in London.

Dr Adina Stroia is currently Lecturer in French Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. An early-career researcher in the field of contemporary Francophone women’s life-writing and visual culture, Dr Stroia’s research focuses on thanatology, queer studies, ageing studies, and the ethics of care. Following the award of her PhD from King’s College London in 2018, Dr Stroia has held posts at UCL, the ILCS, and Newcastle University. Dr Stroia has interviewed several high-profile authors including Leïla Slimani, Camille Laurens, Constance Debré, Manon Garcia, and Djaïli Amadou Amal.

This event is part of a series of talks entitled ‘Feminist Francophone Perspectives on Empathy and Care’ curated by Dr Adina Stroia (Queen’s University Belfast) and Dr Joseph Ford (ILCS). Supported by the Cassal Endowment Fund at the University of London.

Tickets cost from £5 - £10