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

Kaouther Adimi is a young Algerian novelist living in France. A Bookshop in Algiers is her third novel and was published in France in 2017, where it sold over 50,000 copies and received the trifecta of major French award nominations for the Goncourt, Renaudot and Medicis prizes.

Alice Zeniter was born in 1986. She is the author of four novels; Sombre dimanche (Albin Michel, 2013) winner of the Prix du Livre Inter, the Prix des lecteurs de l’Express and the Prix de la Closerie des Lilas; and Juste avant l’oubli (Flammarion, 2015) which won the Prix Renaudot des lycéens. She is a playwright and theatre director.

Natalya Vince is a historian of modern and contemporary Algeria and France and reader in North African and French studies at the University of Portsmouth. She is interested in oral history, decolonisation, gender studies and state- and nation-building in Algeria and France, but also more broadly in Europe and Africa. Her works include Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012 (Manchester University Press, 2015), The Algerian War, The Algerian Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and the ongoing documentary project Generation Independence: a People’s History.

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