La Maison Française of NYU is delighted to present a rich set of free public events through February 2016 on French culture, humanities, and contemporary social issues.

Photo: La Maison Francaise
La Maison Francaise

La Maison Française of NYU (16 Washington Mews, at University Place, New York, N.Y.) is delighted to present a rich set of free public events through February 2016 on French culture, humanities, and contemporary social issues. The latest events begin on January 28 with a conversation between novelist Lisa Alther and memoirist Françoise Gilot, who have co-authored About Women: Conversations between a Writer and a Painter. La Maison Française will also screen the documentary “Too Black to be French?” (Feb. 17), with a discussion about the film by the director, Isabelle Boni-Claverie, and sociologist Patrick Simon.

Please see the full listings below. For additional details, please call 212.998.8750, email, or visit

January/February 2016:

Thursday, January 28, 7:00 p.m.

Writer; novelist; author of Kinflicks; Five Minute in Heaven; Washed in the Blood

in conversation with

Painter; author of Life with Picasso; Matisse and Picasso

Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot, authors of About Women: Conversations between a Writer and a Painter (Nan A. Talese / Doubleday, 2015) discuss their childhoods, the impact of war on their lives and work, their views on love, style, self-invention, feminism and child rearing, the creative impulse and the importance of art. (In English).

Tuesday, February 2, 7:00 p.m.

Lecture (in French)

Les Enjeux de la chair dans l'autofiction: Pourquoi j'ai écrit Jouir et Une Education catholique

Novelist; author of Le Problème avec Jane; La Haine de la famille; Un brillant avenir (Prix Goncourt des lycéens); Indigo

Wednesday, February 3, 6:30 p.m.

Institute of French Studies Lecture (in English)

In the Heart of Darkness of the "Friendly Island": Migrations, Culture, and AIDS in St. Martin

Professor of Anthropology, Connecticut College; author of Au Coeur des ténèbres de la Friendly Island (Presses universitaires de Laval & Hermann, 2015)

Friday, February 5 , 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Assia Djebar (1936-2015): A Commemoration

ANNIE BRANCKY, Vassar College
MARJOLIJN de JAGER, Translator
HAFID GAFAÏTI, University of New Mexico
DAN SIMON, Seven Stories Press
BRIGITTE WELTMAN-ARON, University of Florida
CLARISSE ZIMRA, Southern Illinois University

Assia Djebar changed the world of Algerian letters: she was and remains one of the finest writers in French to emerge from the tumult of decolonization. And she never stopped fighting with her pen for a better situation for women, for intellectuals, and for artists. Her work breaks boundaries of all sorts and combines lively historical erudition with tremendous lyrical force. She brought excitement and joy to her students and colleagues at NYU.

Monday, February 8, 7:00 p.m.

Florence Gould Event

French Literature in the Making

Professor of French literature, Université de Paris VIII; psychoanalyst; writer; author of Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus ?; Comment parler des lieux où l'on n'a pas été ?; Aurais-je été résistant ou bourreau ?; Aurais-je sauvé Geneviève Dixmer ?

in conversation with

Writer, journalist, television producer and host, Un Livre un jour (France 3 and TV5); author of L’Ami posthume: Gérard Philippe; Je ne suis pas là; Le fils perdu; Un livre un jour, un livre toujours; Mitteleuropa

(In French)
Presented with the additional support of Centre National du Livre, Sofitel, and La Compagnie

Thursday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.

Lecture (in English)

Mute Memory: Ahmed Bouanani's Morocco

Writer; translator; curator; director, Dar al-Ma'mûn library and residency, Marrakech

L’hôpital is a cult classic of contemporary Moroccan literature. Mirage is widely considered to be one of the most important feature films made in North Africa. Nevertheless, their polymath author, Ahmed Bouanani (1938-2011), died in relative obscurity. He shunned the limelight and, unless friends forced his hand, avoided sending his work to publishers. In a sense, Bouanani’s oeuvre is still forthcoming: his death uncovered dozens of completed manuscripts, of many genres—poetry, fiction, plays, film scripts, essays, history books, as well as drawings and graphic novels. Omar Berrada has been studying this invaluable archive. In this talk he will argue for the relevance of Bouanani’s work in rethinking North African literary and cinematographic modernism and its links to oral traditions and popular culture.

Tuesday, February 16, 7:00 p.m.

Lecture (in English)

Picasso and Abstraction: Encounters and Avoidance

Yve-Alain Bois is Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has written extensively on 20th century art, from Matisse and Picasso, Mondrian and Lissitzky to postwar American art, particularly Minimal art.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6:15 p.m.

Institute of French Studies Film Screening

Too Black to be French?
(Quark productions and Arte, 2015; in French with English subtitles)

Followed by a discussion with director ISABELLE BONI-CLAVERIE and sociologist PATRICK SIMON (Institut national d'études démographiques, Paris)

In this documentary film, Isabelle Boni-Claverie explores the role of race and the persistence of racism in France, and the impact of the French colonial past. She uses the lens of her family and personal history as the granddaughter of an African from the Ivory Coast who married a white French woman in the 1930s. The filmmaker draws on her own history as well on anonymous interviews of ordinary people and conversations with sociologists and historians including Pap Ndiaye and Achille Mbembe, to explore questions of race, culture, identity, and belonging.

Co-sponsored by NYU Department of French and Institute of African American Affairs

Wednesday, February 24, 7:00 p.m.

Lecture in French

An Evening with

Novelist; author of Ni fleurs ni couronnes; Corniche Kennedy; Naissance d’un pont (Prix Médicis, Prix Franz Hessel); Tangente vers l’Est; Réparer les vivants (The Heart, translated by Sam Taylor, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2016; Grand prix RTL-Lire, Roman des étudiants-France Culture-Télérama, Prix Orange du Livre, Prix des lecteurs L’Express-BFMTV).

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337