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The International Library

The International Library and Celebrate Mexico Now: Stitches, Secrets, Shame with Jazmina Barrera, Christina MacSweeney, and Leanne Shapton

Thursday, 1:30 pm EDT November 16, 2023

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

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 Barrera, MacSweeney, and Leanne Shapton for a conversation about travel, art, identity, and translation.

This is a hybrid event. Jazmina Barrera and Leanne Shapton will join in person at The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn (1:30pm ET), with Christina MacSweeney, remotely joining from Norwich. 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.

Cross Stitch - Eliana Cohen-Orth

In Conversation

  • JBarrera (credit odrigo Jardón) - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Jazmina Barrera

    Jazmina Barrera

    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

  • CMacSweeney - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Christina MacSweeney

    Christina MacSweeney

    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.

  • LS headshot (21) copy Large

    Leanne Shapton

    Leanne Shapton

    Leanne Shapton is a Canadian author, artist, illustrator, art director and editor based in New York City. She is the author of Swimming Studies, which won the National Book Critic’s Circle Award Award for autobiography in 2012; The Native Trees of Canada; Was She Pretty; Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry; Sunday Night Movies; Women in Clothes co-edited with Sheila Heti and Heidi Julavits; and most recently Guestbook: Ghost Stories. Leanne published a children’s book in 2018 called Toys Talking. She has taught creative writing in the graduate degree programs at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College. Leanne was the art director of the New York Times op ed page, is co-founder of the non-profit art bio publisher J&L Books, and since 2021 has worked as the art editor at the New York Review of Books.