The International Library
The International Library and Celebrate Mexico Now: Stitches, Secrets, Shame with Jazmina Barrera, Valeria Luiselli, and Christina MacSweeney
Thursday, 1:30 pm EDT November 16, 2023
The Center for Fiction
Stitches, secrets, shame: Mexican writer Jazmina Barrera’s first novel, Cross-Stitch, translated into English by Christina MacSweeney, stitches together a coming-of-age story with a feminist history and theory of embroidery. Mila, Citlali, and Dalia, childhood friends now college-aged, leave Mexico City for the London of The Clash and the Paris of Gustave Courbet. They anticipate the bookstores, cafés, and crushes, but not the realization that they are steadily, inevitably growing apart.
That feels like forever ago. Mila, now a writer and a new mother, has just published a book on needlecraft, an art form long dismissed as “women’s work.” After hearing that her old friend Citlali has drowned, Mila begins to reminisce about their years together for the first time since becoming a wife and mother. What has come of all the nights the three friends spent embroidering together in silence? Join Jazmina Barrera, Valeria Luiselli, and Christina MacSweeney for a conversation about travel, art, identity, and translation, moderated by Two Lines Press Editor CJ Evans.
This is a hybrid event. Jazmina Barrera and Valeria Luiselli will join in person at The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn (1:30pm ET), with Christina MacSweeney, remotely joining from Norwich, and CJ Evans in-person at the American Library in Paris (in Paris; 19h30 CEST). A live remote viewing will be held at Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco (10:30am PT). You can also livestream this event worldwide.
In-person tickets to The Center for Fiction include an optional lunch.
- Lunch Option A: Ham sandwich with brie, arugula, and house-made spiced honey mustard.
- Lunch Option B: Vegan chickpea salad sandwich.
Both options are served with an apple, a bag of salted potato chips, and a soft drink of choice.
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.
Presented in partnership with Celebrate Mexico Now.
Jazmina Barrera’s books have been published in nine countries and translated to English, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, and French. Her book Cuerpo extraño (Foreign Body) was awarded the Latin American Voices prize by Literal Publishing, and On Lighthouses was chosen for the Indie Next list by IndieBound. Linea Nigra was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Autobiography Prize, CANIEM’s Book of the Year award, and the Amazon Primera Novela (First Novel) Award. She is editor and co-founder of Ediciones Antílope. She lives in Mexico City.
Photo Credit: Rodrigo Jardón
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of Sidewalks, Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of DUBLIN Literary Award, two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award, and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and The New Yorker, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She teaches at Bard College and is a visiting professor at Harvard University.
Photo Credit: Diego Berruecos/Gatopardo
Christina MacSweeney work has been recognized in a number of important awards, and her translation of Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth was awarded the Valle Inclán Translation Prize and also shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award. Her most recent translations include works by Daniel Saldaña París, Elvira Navarro, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Julián Herbert, and Karla Suárez.
CJ Evans’s newest book, Lives, was selected by Victoria Chang for the 2021 Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books. He is also the author of A Penance (New Issues Press), which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award and The Category of Outcast, selected by Terrance Hayes for the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets chapbook series. Currently the editor-in-chief of Two Lines Press, a publisher of international literature in translation, he was previously an editor at Tin House and worked at the Academy of American Poets. He spent a year in Aix-en-provence, France on the Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship and currently lives in California.
By Jazmina Barrera
Published by Two Lines Press
Translated by Christina MacSweeney
It was meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Mila, Citlali, and Dalia, childhood friends now college-aged, leave Mexico City for the London of The Clash and the Paris of Courbet. They anticipate the cafés and crushes, but not the early signs that they are each steadily, inevitably changing.
That feels like forever ago. Mila, now a writer and a new mother, has just published a book on needlecraft—an art form so long dismissed as “women’s work.” But after learning Citlali has drowned, Mila begins to sift through her old scrapbooks, reflecting on their shared youth for the first time as a new wife and mother. What has come of all the nights the three friends spent embroidering together in silence? Did she miss the signs that Citlali needed help?
About this series
The International Library
Join the American Library in Paris, the Center for the Art of Translation, and The Center for Fiction for conversations across time, place, culture, and literary tradition, with live audiences in San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Paris.
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