Join translator and queer ally Dr. Stephanie Schechner for a celebration of the life and works of Mireille Best (1943–2005), a working-class French lesbian author whose brilliant contributions to LGBTQ+ fiction are yet to be fully appreciated.
Dr. Schechner (Widener University, PA, USA) will give a talk on the life of Mireille Best, and will read from , first published in 1988 and now available in English for the first time on Seagull’s Pride List.
This will be followed by a Q&A facilitated by Paulina Palmer, author and critic of contemporary women’s writing, and former teacher of literature and gender studies at Warwick University and Birkbeck.
Camille in October traces the reflections and struggles of Camille, a young lesbian woman coming of age in a working-class neighbourhood in 1950s France. Her mother holds the family together, with the support of a group of women who talk over coffee and cigarettes each day. Her father, a war veteran, is largely silent except when his inner rage erupts in violence. Her sister, Ariane, provides comic relief, while her brother, Abel, a construction worker, is a lost soul who suffers from seizures. Camille herself can usually be found curled up with a book, observing everything.
But an intellectual and sexual relationship with her dentist’s wife opens a world of new possibilities to Camille. Where will this lead her? Suicide, murder, accidental death—all are possible in this unconventional narrative from Mireille Best. As a young adult, Camille is not always the most reliable narrator, but she is one who charms with her intelligence, her lack of pretention and her strong sense of connection to her roots. With her, we embark on a fundamental – and universal – quest to balance where we come from with who we need to become.
“Amid misery, love as a passage to life – emotional and cultural – gives this story its power and its originality. To achieve this required an exacting sensitivity. Here is the true success of this novelist” – Le Monde.
When: 5.30pm-7pm, Wednesday 8th January
Where: Cambridge Central Library (3rd floor seminar room). Ask at the third floor reception desk.
& Light Refreshments
Accessibility: There is wheelchair access. There is padded seating, an accessible toilet, a designated quiet space, general car parking and blue badge parking in the Grand Arcade car park accessed by the lift next to the Library. There is a hearing loop by request in advance. This isn’t a gender neutral toilet, or a bsl interpreter. You can contact about access on Libraries.ReferralCentrefirstname.lastname@example.org
Seagull Books is an independent publishing house founded in Kolkata in 1982 and specialising in serious literary fiction, poetry and works in translation. Seagull’s Pride List celebrates the fantastic diversity of LGBTQ+ lives across countries, languages, centuries and identities, with the conviction that queer pride comes from its unabashed expression.
Encompass Network promotes a better quality of life for LGBTQ+ people in Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas by enabling networking and capacity building for the LGBTQ+ voluntary and community sector.