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Philippe Lançon on Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo


Admission and $10 off at our bookstore

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Wednesday, 7:00 pm EST January 29, 2020

The Center for Fiction

Writer and Charlie Hebdo columnist Philippe Lançon survived the last day of his life—January 7, 2015. But his jaw, mangled by a terrorist’s bullet, required countless operations and long hospital stays to repair. Throughout months of reconstructive surgeries, he turned to Kafka, Mann, and Proust to better understand who he’s become and remember who he was before the attack.

Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo, translated from the French by Steven Rendall, is Lançon’s powerful and award-winning memoir of his grueling medical struggle and emotional recovery. As part of his first U.S. tour, he will speak to writer Dinaw Mengestu and Michael Reynolds, editor-in-chief of Europa Editions, about why literature was an essential part of his remarkable and transformative journey.

This event is made possible by the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United-States.



  • Lançon 4 (c) Catherine Hélie - Carla Cain-Walther

    Philippe Lançon

    Philippe Lançon

    Philippe Lançon is a French journalist and writer born in 1963. His memoir, Disturbance, won the 2018 Prix Femina, Prix du Roman News, and Prix Renaudot Jury’s Special Prize, and was also named Best Book of the Year by the magazines Lire and Les Inrockuptibles. He is the author of the novels L’Élan (2013) and Les îles (2011).

  • Dinaw Mengestu - Carla Cain-Walther

    Dinaw Mengestu

    Dinaw Mengestu

    Dinaw Mengestu is the author of three novels, all of which were named New York Times Notable Books: All Our Names (Knopf, 2014), How To Read the Air (Riverhead, 2010), and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead, 2007). A native of Ethiopia who came with his family to the United States at the age of two, Mengestu is also a freelance journalist who has reported about life in Darfur, northern Uganda, and eastern Congo. His articles and fiction have appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Jane, and Rolling Stone. He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction, National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, Guardian First Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other honors. He was also included in The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list in 2010.

  • Michael Reynolds - Europa Editions

    Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds is the Editor in Chief at Europa Editions. He is the recipient of the 2016 Golden Colophon Award for Superlative Achievement & Leadership in Independent Literary Publishing, awarded by the Community of Literary and Magazine Presses, and a 2017 Epiphany Magazine Honoree for Publishing Excellence. He has served on the jury for the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, the Gutekunst Prize for Young Translators, and the foreign jury of the Strega Prize. He is a regular speaker at the Columbia School of Journalism’s Columbia Publishing Course, and at publishing and translation conferences in America and internationally. He is a member of the Rutgers University Press Advisory Council, a member of the Independent Publisher Caucus Steering Committee, and the founder of Bookselling Without Borders, a scholarship program that diversifies the culture of reading by building bridges between the American bookselling community and the international book industry.

The Cultural Services are a division of the French Embassy in the United States. The Cultural Services were first imagined in the 1930’s by Paul Claudel. In 1945 General de Gaulle appointed Claude Lévi-Strauss as the first Cultural Counselor, with the mission of providing Americans (individuals and organizations) with access and resources to engage with French culture and promote it in their own communities.

  • French Cultural Services Logos - Carla Cain-Walther