For the 2023 Night of Ideas, Columbia University’s Maison Française and Department of French are teaming up with Villa Albertine to host a collective public reading of Happening by Annie Ernaux, French author and winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature. Happening recounts the abortion Ernaux had at age 23, in 1963, at a time when the procedure was still illegal in France. Her story, told with unsparing honesty, resonates strongly in post-Roe America, where the right to a safe and legal abortion has been curtailed in many states. Happening will be read in English in its entirety, with brief passages performed by more than 30 diverse voices—writers, artists, doctors, teachers, students, activists—in a collective expression of appreciation for Annie Ernaux’s bold work and solidarity for reproductive rights.
Mona Eltahawy, Feminist Author Niharika Rao, Student, Barnard College, and Co-Founder of Reproductive Justice Collective NY Margo Jefferson, Author and Professor, School of the Arts, Columbia Susan Rubin, Family Physician at the Institute for Family Health and Abortion care provider at Planned Parenthood Thomas Dodman, Assistant Professor of French, Columbia University Chiara Gabily Dodman, Student, Bard High School Queens Ken Chen, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Creative Writing, Barnard College Rosalie Fisher, French Teacher, Saint Ann's School Colm Toíbín, Writer and Professor of the Humanities, Columbia Taylor Rae Almonte, Student, Columbia Domna Stanton, Professor of French and Women's and Gender Studies, CUNY Graduate Center Brooke Habit, Student, Columbia Maria Stuebner, Student, Columbia Dee Beasnael, Stage and Voice Artist Dan Simon, Publisher, Seven Stories Press Nellie Hermann, Writer Judith Thurman, Writer and Critic Ruth Weiner, Publicity Director, Seven Stories Press Camila Valle, Editor, Translator, Writer, and member of NYC for Abortion Rights Marianne Hirsch, Professor Emerita, Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, Columbia Vinus Mahmoodi, Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology, Columbia Medical Center Sanaë Lemoine, Writer Chayma Drira, Journalist and Doctoral Student, NYU, and Villa Albertine Resident in 2022 Taylor Steinbruegge, Communication Officer, Villa Albertine Alex Pekov, Early Career Fellow, Lecturer in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature, Columbia Camille Abdesselam, Student, Columbia Ilana Custos-Quatreville, Program Assistant, Columbia Maison Française Laura Kolbe, Physician, Writer and Poet Shanny Peer, Director, Columbia Maison Française Madeleine Dobie, Professor of French, Columbia Milène Klein, Student, Columbia