Geneviève Brisac



A Journey - Geneviève Brisac was born in Paris to a family of leftist anglophiles. A childhood in the Latin Quarter, with long afternoons in Luxembourg Gardens, greatly influenced the backdrop for her novels. With her nurses and grandmothers reading to her each day from Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland, the Luxembourg took on the airs of Kensington Garden.

She went on to receive advanced degrees in literature and taught French in Seine-Saint-Denis, just outside of Paris. She has been in charge of a journal for librarians, a critic for Le Monde’s book supplement, editor at Gallimard and has hosted a literary television show on the France Culture channel called “Living, Writing.” She is currently editor at l’Ecole des Loisirs (the School for Leisure-Time Activities), where she also publishes books for children.

She has always been a very eager defender of literature; of literature that’s in danger: “What’s important these days is no longer what’s said, but who says it. The ‘Where are you coming from?’ of the ‘70s has been succeeded by ‘Who’s Talking?’ This is to forget that the work is always more interesting than the person: What one writes is the best one has to give, in general. As for who is the one who is speaking, they have to be spectacular or monstrous in order to be heard. This is tragic for literature because it has always been the stuff of nuance and subtlety.”

A work- "You have to start out in the sandbox,” Gace Paley would advise, “because a sand pile is a marvelous metaphor of the workings of adult seduction and power. The imagination isn’t what one thinks it is. It isn’t about fantasy, it’s about everyday life.” Her first novel Les Filles (Daughters) was published in 1987 by Gallimard and Petite (Little Girl) came out in 1994 from Editions de l’Olivier. Weekend de la chasse à la Mére won the Prix Fémina in 1996. Six novels (including Les Sœurs Délecata, 2004) and a collection of stories, Pour Qui Vous Prenez-vous? (Who Do You Think You Are?): “Be a constant observer, of anxiety, foolishness, your own low spirits, put down on paper this second life which tirelessly unfolds behind the official life, bring together what makes us laugh and what makes us cry, invent new forms, lighter and more durable.”

A provenance - She is also the author of three essays, including La Marche du Cavalier (2002) dedicated to women and literary creation, and V.W. or the Mixing of the Genres (2004), an essay on Virginia Woolf written with Agnes Desanthe. “There are more and more women who write, and not all are great novelists. What makes me mad is that their books aren’t read as are the books by men. I don’t have any prejudice against male writers, but in the interest of equality, I would like to talk about all those who nourished me and who are in some cases still insufficiently appreciated. Virginia Woolf, Flannery O’Connor, Jean Rhys have the perfect ear: like musicians, they capture the right sound, which awakens the right word.”


Format of the talk


During this tour of “author appearances” rather than formal presentations, Geneviève Brisac will read passages from her work with the intention of igniting informal discussions with audience members on, among other subjects, her work as a writer and editor


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  • Fondation Alliance Française
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  • Cultural Services of the French Embassy
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