An Evening With Annie Ernaux
In Conversation with Hari Kunzru
“Maybe the true purpose of my life is for my body, my sensations and my thoughts to become writing, in other words, something intelligible and universal, causing my existence to merge into the lives and heads of other people,” writes the French writer Annie Ernaux. Her new book, Getting Lost documents her affair in the late ‘80s with a much younger man―a daring, explicit account that, like much of her work, presents the author’s own sexuality completely devoid of shame. Introduced by Associate Director of Creative Writing Ken Chen, the event will feature Ernaux in conversation with novelist Hari Kunzru, author of Red Pill. The Barnard English department’s Creative Writing Program is proud to present a rare appearance by one of the most provocative and acclaimed writers in international literature.
Ernaux’s books are naked transcriptions of pain and desire. They combine a searingly intimate presentation of her own relationships and an often distancing, unsentimental eye, creating a sensation of intimacy and panoramic sociology. “Her subversion is not simply the subversion of gender―a woman writing about her own affair, which was historically the dominion of men―but her sexual frankness,” a sense of honesty distinguished by her “total absence of shame” (The Guardian). Her more than twenty books include A Girl’s Story, about her own coming of age, Simple Passion, which offers a fictionalized account of the same relationship described in Getting Lost, I Remain in Darkness, a stripped-down diary of her mother’s dementia, Happening, a philosophical account of her own abortion, and her experimental masterpiece, The Years, a symphonic plural biography of the postwar generation in France.
Hari Kunzru is the author of Red Pill, White Tears, The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions, and Gods Without Men. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library, and the American Academy in Berlin.
Cosponsored by the Barnard French Department, Barnard Center for Research on Women, Columbia English Department, and Columbia University School of the Arts.
Covid policy: All guests must wear masks indoors on Barnard’s Campus. All non Barnard and Columbia ID holders must follow masking requirements and other College policies including to completing a full 10-day isolation period after a positive COVID test, meeting the College’s COVID-19 vaccine/booster requirement and attesting to that by completing the Visitor/Vendor Health Screen form before coming to campus.
Image: Annie Ernaux by Oliver Roller