Meet the Authors

Engage with renowned authors in these sessions organized by NeMLA's areas of inquiry and caucuses.

Transnational Italian Poetry

Friday, March 22, 11:45 AM-1 PM, Baltimore 5

What does it mean to write poetry in a language other than one's own? This question and many others will be discussed by Italian and Italophone poets during this session. Poetry readings by Ilaria Boffa, Monica Guerra, and Sandro Pecchiari will precede the conversation, and we invite everyone to bring their experiences, knowledges, and perspectives. English has become for these authors a creative space where crossing language borders produces original crosspollinations and, hopefully, new forms of poetic expression. 

This event is organized by the Italian Language and Literature Area.

A Conversation with Martine Sonnet: Ecrire Paris, habiter Paris

Friday, March 22, 3-4:30 PM, Mezzanine Room 1

Martine Sonnet

Une lecture/conversation invitant à suivre le fil d’une écriture dont le port d’attache serait Paris, de ma thèse d’historienne débutante consacrée à «L’éducation des filles à Paris au XVIIIe siècle» à mes récits littéraires plus tardifs ancrés à la ville et à ses abords. Reconstruire en l’écrivant l’usine effacée du paysage dans laquelle mon père a travaillé (Atelier 62, Éd. Le temps qu’il fait, 2008), disséquer une gare parisienne passage obligé de mon histoire familiale (Montparnasse monde, Éd. Le temps qu’il fait, 2011), pour finalement m’interroger sur ce que veut dire «Habiter Paris» (work in progress) quand on vient de s’installer, enfin, en son plein cœur après des décennies d’allées et venues quotidiennes entre la banlieue et la ville: mon écriture procède d’un lieu unique que j’habite et réciproquement. 

Martine Sonnet is a French historian and writer. As an historian at the Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, (Institute for Early Modern and Modern History, CNRS, Paris), her main interests are 18th history and women’s history. Among a lot of works about education, culture and private female writings, she has published L’éducation des filles au temps des Lumières (CNRS Edition, 1987 and 2011) and has contributed to A History of Women in the West : Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes, directed by N. Zemon Davis and A. Farge (Harvard UP, 1993). As a writer, she is mostly known for Atelier 62 (Ed. Le temps qu’il fait, 2008) a « récit de filiation » blending personal memory and archives to restore her father’s working life of blacksmith. She also wrote Montparnasse monde (Ed. Le temps qu’il fait, 2011), a poetic divagation in a Parisian railway station that nobody loves except her, and short radio fictions. She is now writing Habiter Paris based on her recent move from the suburbs into the heart of the city. Since 2008 she runs a literary and photographic blog, L’employée aux écritures.

This event is organized by the French and Francophone Language and Literature Area.

Mame Fatou Niang and Julien Suaudeau

Sunday, March 24, 8:30-10:30 AM, Annapolis 1

The aim of this session is to initiate a discussion of diversity, race, and postcolonial dynamics in French-speaking countries, both in literature and in film.

Film director Mame Fatou Niang will screen excerpts from her co-directed film Mariannes Noires (2016), a documentary on Afro-French womanhood, and novelist Julien Suaudeau will read from his latest novel, Le sang noir des hommes. Professor Suaudeau’s book will be hot off the press, and there will be copies available at the session. The presentations will be followed by Q&A.


Mame-Fatou Niang

Mame-Fatou Niang is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. She conducts research on Blackness in France, transcolonial studies, media and urban planning. She is co-director of the documentary Mariannes Noires (2016). She is also a poet, photographer, and the co-author of a photo series on Black French Islam.

Photographer: Nicolas Guérin

Credit: Nicolas Guérin

Un soldat français disparaît pendant une opération militaire à la frontière de la Mauritanie et du Sénégal. Dix ans après, il rentre chez lui pour se venger. Est-ce le même homme? Un fantôme? Un fou? Perdu entre le passé et le présent, la France et l'Afrique noire, le rêve et la réalité, il ignore qu'il n'est qu'un pion dans la partie diabolique qui continue à se jouer entre la métropole et ses anciennes colonies.

Julien Suaudeau teaches at Bryn Mawr College, where he is the Coordinator of the Non-Intensive Language sequence in French. He is the author of three novels: Dawa (2014), Le Français (2015), and Ni le feu ni la foudre (2016). His fiction work focuses on contemporary France seen through the lenses of colonial and postcolonial history, immigration, laïcité, terrorism, and socioeconomic inequalities. He is a regular contributor to the opinion pages of French dailies Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, and weekly magazine L’Obs. In the United States, he lectures frequently as a guest speaker on the topic of connecting American students and teachers with the “real” France and the francophone world. He was the keynote speaker at the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) 2016 National Convention. As a filmmaker, he has directed documentaries and short fiction films, and has published extensively on film history, film theory and French cinema in Positif.

This event is organized by the French and Francophone Language and Literature Area.

Academics and Artists Amidst Violence

Sunday, March 24, 8:30-10:30 AM, Annapolis 2

At various moments in history, mass graves attributed to wars have been unearthed in different places around the world, however, the discovery of hundreds of buried bodies in Ciudad Juárez in 1997 brought to light the prevalence of targeted violence against women. One of the first artists to document the gruesome feminicides was Lourdes Portillo in her film Señorita extraviada (2002). Since then, writers and filmmakers such as Carmina Narro, Sabina Berman, Roberto Bolaños, Carlos Carrera, Bárbara Colio, and Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda among others, have produced films, novels, plays and critical studies, on the troubling topic of violence directed specifically at women. In this session, presenters address the question of violence from a critical, theoretical, or historical perspective with a focus on how violence is represented in films or theatre.