The Institut français in London is pleased to announce the 7th edition of Beyond Words, a week-long festival of literature featuring acclaimed authors and new voices, and the latest publications from both sides of the Channel.
Guest of honour of this year’s festival, Ian McEwan will be awarded the insignia of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French Ambassador Hélène Duchêne on Wed 17 May.
‘France is a country whose literature, art, music and landscapes I have admired and loved since my teens. This honour brings me great joy.’ Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan will then present his new novel, Lessons, a compelling reflexion on history and humanity.
The line-up includes luminaries of French literature, from Muriel Barbery, author of the global sensation The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Éric Vuillard, recipient of the 2017 Prix Goncourt, to Laurent Mauvignier, author of The Birthday Party, longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023. Jean-Baptiste Andrea, author of Devils and Saints and Antoine Laurain, bestselling author of The Red Notebook will also attend the festival.
Women literary greats are in the spotlight with a series of events dedicated to Colette on the 150th anniversary of her birth, including a discussion with Deborah Levy, Michèle Roberts, Emmanuelle Lambert and Diana Holmes; and a special screening of Gigi, attended by Leslie Caron. Virginia Woolf’s Orlando will be the starting point of a discussion with writer and philosopher Paul B. Preciado. The festival will also feature Nobel Prize-winner Annie Ernaux’s directorial debut, The Super 8 Years, and films by or adapted from Marguerite Duras.
More films are on the menu with a documentary on Milan Kundera, and Loving Highsmith, a unique look at the life of Patricia Highsmith. Director Nina Menkes will also present her documentary Brainwashed: Sex – Camera – Power, addressing the representation of women on screen and in society.
Poet and artist Tarek Lakhrissi will explore the themes of desire, queer poetic and empowerment through a reading followed by a conversation with curator Lynton Talbot.
Kids can also join a programme of reading sessions, a workshop with illustrator Pauline Kerleroux, and (re)discover the magic of Disney’s now classic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Last but not least, Beyond Words goes on tour with its Beyond Our Walls programme featuring a special conversation with Éric Vuillard at the Maison Française d’Oxford, Olivier Guez at the British Library, Caroline Laurent in Bristol and François Beaune in Scotland.
- Natacha Antolini
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