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Event: Collective Reading of Annie Ernaux's Happening
Soon after the French author Annie Ernaux won the Nobel Prize in Literature, an event for her which had long been scheduled at Villa Albertine brought her to New York City for a wonderful conversation with writer Kate Zambreno.
A few months before, I had watched the film adaptation of Ernaux's Happening, about her "illegal" abortion in 1963 France. It took her 40 years to write about that abortion.
In the Green Room after the Villa Albertine event, I asked the interpreter to help me speak to Annie Ernaux. I told her that Happening deeply resonated with me because I had had an "illegal" abortion in Egypt. It took me 25 years to write about that abortion.
She asked me if abortion was still illegal in Egypt and I answered in the affirmative.
This Friday, March 3, I will be taking part in a collective reading of Ernaux's Happening at Villa Albertine, as part of Night of Ideas, a free late-night art and philosophy marathon that is free to attend.
It is a deeply meaningful full circle moment for me. And this collective reading is happening at an enraging and deeply troubling time in the U.S.
In 2021, for FEMINIST GIANT, I dared myself to be brave and to finally write about my abortions. I wrote this about my "illegal" abortion in Egypt in 1996 and my "legal" abortion in the U.S. in 2000, and this essay about the film adaptation of Happening.
If you are in NYC, register to come to the collective reading at Villa Albertine.
It will also be streamed live and I hope those of you elsewhere can watch.
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Mona Eltahawy is a feminist author, commentator and disruptor of patriarchy. She is editing an anthology on menopause called Bloody Hell! And Other Stories: Adventures in Menopause from Across the Personal and Political Spectrum. Her first book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution (2015) targeted patriarchy in the Middle East and North Africa and her second The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls (2019) took her disruption worldwide. It is now available in Ireland and the UK. Her commentary has appeared in media around the world and she makes video essays and writes a newsletter as FEMINIST GIANT.
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