Beyond Words French Literature Festival 

From 17 May 2021, the Institut français reopens its doors and goes Beyond Words, onsite, online, or both, with its festival of literature.

It is largely thanks to literature that we have managed to get through this year confined to our rooms, where imagination was synonymous with escape. Now great literature is back in top form and in touch with current affairs.

Expect the hottest publications, readings, exclusive conversations, screen adaptations and a great line-up including acclaimed authors Maylis de Kerangal, Laurent Binet, Ananda Devi, Douglas Stuart or Eric Vuillard, and new voices Rebecca Watson, Alice Zeniter, Julia Kerninon and Delphine Minoui, to name but a few.

About the speakers

Francoise Vergès is an activist and public educator. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of many books including Resolutely Black, Conversations with Aime Cesaire (Polity, 2019), The Wombs of Women: Race, Capital, Feminism and Monsters and Revolutionaries: Colonial Family Romance and Metissage (Duke University Press, 2020, 1999).

Diyora Shadijanova is a journalist and writer. She's the First Person editor at gal-dem magazine and the host of the Broccoli Book Club podcast. Her work can be read in VICE, Refinery29, Bustle, Cosmopolitan among others.

A partnership between

What is Common Currency?

English PEN sits at the intersection of literature and advocacy, championing the freedom to write and the freedom to read.

Common Currency is our centenary programme - a unique project that combines timely debates on freedom of expression, creative campaigning and a celebration of diverse voices. It seeks to ignite a national conversation around issues of freedom of expression, led by writers and readers.

Every event in our programme is inspired by one of three key themes, based on our 100-year history:

1. Free speech and democracy

2. Languages and ideas

3. Celebrating women