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The International Library

The International Library and BCLF Present Elektrik: Francophone Literature in Glittering Translations

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Thursday, 1:30 pm EDT September 14, 2023

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

Note: All panelists are joining this event remotely; The Center for Fiction will host a viewing for a live audience.

What does it mean to be Caribbean in the 21st century? Is it imprinted in the landscape, the language, or is it perhaps, in the words of Mireille Jean-Gilles (tr. Eric Fishman), “a place that lives in me, and that I unfurl, like a nomad his tent, in each place where I live”? In Elektrik: Caribbean Writing, eight female writers from Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe explore the beauty, pain, and complexity wrapped up in their identity. Writers Marie-Célie Agnant and Gaël Octavia join poet and translator Danielle Legros Georges to read from the collection and discuss language as defiance, moderated by Myriam J. A. Chancy.

This is a virtual event with in-person audiences . The discussion will feature Marie-Célie Agnant and Danielle Legros Georges, remotely joining from Quebec and Boston, respectively, and Gaël Octavia in person at the American Library in Paris (in Paris; 19h30 CEST). Myriam J. A. Chancy will also be joining remotely as moderator. Live remote viewings will be held at Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco (10:30am PT) and The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn (1:30pm ET). You can also livestream this event worldwide.

About The International Library

This event is part of The International Library, a series launched in collaboration with the American Library in Paris and the Center for the Art of Translation which will offer conversations across time, place, and language. The International Library celebrates the live diffusion of in-person conversations in the hope of connecting new audiences across land and sea for a collective, intercultural experience. These conversations will broach deeper questions about writing and translation as we learn to think critically about how stories are told, investigating the points of view, the timing of the translations, and the intended or assumed audiences as well as inspiration, philosophy, and craft.

In Conversation

Marie-Célie Agnant was born in 1953 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has lived in Canada since 1970. Her writings include four novels, two short story collections, and three volumes of poetry. She has also worked as a storyteller, an interpreter, a teacher, and an environmental activist. In her literary works, she offers lyrical explorations of the unsaid, legacies of violence, and loss in families and societies consumed by memories they share in silence. She received the Prix Alain-Grandbois of the Academie des Lettres du Quebec in 2017 for her most recent collection of poetry, Femmes de terres brûlées (2016). In 2023, she was appointed Canada’s 10th Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

Danielle Legros Georges is the author of The Dear Remote Nearness of You (2016) and translator of Island Heart (2021), a collection of poems of Haitian-French writer Ida Faubert, among other titles. Her poems have been widely published, anthologized, and included in international artistic commissions and collaborations. In 2014, Legros Georges was named Boston’s poet laureate. She is a professor of creative writing at Lesley University.

Gaël Octavia was born and raised in Martinique and now lives in Paris. She writes novels, poetry, theater, and short stories. She also paints and makes short films. Inspired by Martinican society, her texts explore themes of family, identity, and the female condition. Her plays have been read and performed in France, the United States, the Caribbean, Reunion Island, and Africa. Her first novel, La fin de Mame Baby, received the Wepler Jury Special Mention Award in 2017.

Elektrik front cover - Eliana Cohen-Orth

Moderated By

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    Myriam J. A. Chancy

    Myriam J. A. Chancy

    Myriam J. A. Chancy, Ph.D. is a Guggenheim Fellow and Hartley Burr Alexander Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College. She is the author of What Storm, What Thunder, a novel on the 2010 Haiti earthquake (Harper Collins Canada/Tin House USA 2021), awarded a 2022 American Book Award (ABA) from the Before Columbus Foundation, and named a “Best Book of 2021,” by NPR, Kirkus, the Chicago Public Library, the New York Public Library, Library Journal, the Boston Globe, Amazon Books & Canada’s Globe & Mail. Her forthcoming books include Harvesting Haiti: Reflections on Unnatural Disasters (University of Texas Press, 2023), Spirit of Haiti (20th anniversary edition, SUNY Press, 2023) and Village Weavers: A Novel (Tin House 2024). Her recent writings have appeared in Journal, Electric Literature, and Guernica.

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