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"Festival Albertine 2016" - New York City, November 2-6

"Festival Albertine 2016" - New York City, November 2-6

Published on October 4, 2016
The five-day free festival hosted by the French Embassy’s acclaimed bookshop and intellectual hub will explore the changing nature and importance of identity in the U.S. and France. Nov. 2 - Nov. 6, 2016.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me and curator of the third annual Festival Albertine, has revealed the festival’s programming lineup, which brings together a range of American and French artists, thinkers and scholars to discuss a topic of growing relevance in both countries: what our national, social and cultural labels mean today.

In the free, five-day literary festival hosted by Albertine Books, the groundbreaking bookshop operated by the French Embassy in New York, the participants will explore the ways in which the politics of race are changing in America and France in a time of both growing extremism and the rise of activist movements like Black Lives Matter; what the rise of the populist right in both countries means for national identity; and what both countries’ attitudes toward immigration have done to shape its interaction with the broader world. Presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Albertine Books, Festival Albertine will take place November 2-6.

All events will be streamed "live" at

All Festival Albertine 2016 events will take place at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York (972 Fifth Avenue). Seating is limited and works on a first-come, first-serve basis. In order to make the events accessible across the U.S. and around the world, the Festival will stream them all live, free of charge, at Academic institutions, booksellers and book fairs including Indiana University Bloomington, Brookline Booksmith in Boston, and Texas Book Fair will hold livestream viewing events. Organizations interested in hosting livestreams may contact the Cultural Services for details.

The Festival Albertine 2016 lineup features celebrated artists from multiple disciplines, as well as leading scholars and writers about culture, identity and labels. Among the Americans headlining the festival are New Yorker staff writerJelani Cobb; “The Wire” and “Treme” producer David Simon; comic book author Kelly Sue Deconnick (Bitch Planet); the Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Thelma Golden; novelist (Black Deutschland), editor and publisher of Random House Chris Jackson; playwright and essayist Darryl Pinckney; entertainment lawyer entertainment lawyer Nina Shaw; poet and writer Claudia Rankine (Citizen); journalist and author Adam Shatz; Cinema journalist Claire Diao; author and founding director of the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, Jennifer Homans; Dance Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director, Virginia Johnson; director/producer and the Apollo Theater’s executive producer, Kamilah Forbes; MoMA Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art, Thomas J. Lax; and artist Kehinde Wiley. Coates has paired them with French luminaries including sociologist and anthropologist Nacira Guénif-Souilamas; author Scholastique Mukasonga, dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied; writer, director, producer and actor, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche; rapper and spoken word artist D’ de Kabal, journalist Iris Deroeux, graphic novelist Catherine Meurisse; historian Benjamin Stora; artist Denis Darzacq; Duke University professor of romance studies and history, Laurent Dubois; Maboula Soumahoro; writer Zahia Rahmani; co-founder or the the Créolité movement Raphaël Confiant, and historian Pap Ndiaye.

“In this time of crisis and growing extremism around the world, dialogue is more essential than ever. Festival Albertine reflects the French Embassy’s commitment to fostering intellectual and cultural exchange through conversation and debate,” says Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States. “We are very fortunate to have Ta-Nehisi Coates, a keen observer and major voice on issues raised by groups like Black Lives Matter in the U.S., as curator of this year’s festival. After spending a year in France, Mr. Coates returns with a fresh perspective on issues that he has investigated for years. He will examine questions of race, identity, and immigration from French and American perspectives in conversation with important artists and intellectuals from both sides of the Atlantic. The arts are a vehicle for dialogue rather division, and we hope that the festival will give rise to fruitful and inspiring discussion.”


When Will France Have Its Barack Obama?
Featuring Jelani Cobb, Iris Deroeux, Pap Ndiaye and Benjamin Stora
Moderated by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Wednesday, November 2 - 7:30pm

From the Margins to the Mainstream: High Art vs. Low Art in France and the U.S.
Featuring Kelly Sue Deconnick, D’ de Kabal, Catherine Meurisse and David Simon
Moderated by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Thursday, November 3 - 7:30pm

Blacklisted: From Hollywood to Paris
Featuring Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, Claire Diao, and Nina Shaw
Moderated by Kamilah Forbes
Friday, November 4 - 7:30pm

Europe and America in the Black Literary Imagination
Featuring Laurent Dubois, Scholastique Mukasonga, Maboula Soumahoro and Darryl Pinckney
Moderated by Chris Jackson
Saturday, November 5 - 5pm

Art, Race & Representation
Featuring Denis Darzacq, Kehinde Wiley, Thomas Lax and Nacira Guénif-Souilamas
Moderated by Thelma Golden
Saturday, November 5 - 7:30pm

Every Name in the Street
Featuring Raphaël Confiant, Zahia Rahmani, Claudia Rankine, Jacqueline Woodson
Moderated by Adam Shatz
Sunday, November 6 - 3pm

Race, Equity, and Otherness in Ballet and Society
Virginia Johnson and Benjamin Millepied
Moderated by Jennifer Homans
Co-presented by the Center for Ballet and the Arts, New York University
Made possible by Michele and Timothy Barakett and Cheryl and Blair Effron
Sunday, November 6 - 5:30pm

About Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer, journalist and educator. A national correspondent for The Atlantic, he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly regarding African-Americans. Following his 2008 memoir, The Beautiful Struggle, he released the bestselling book Between the World and Me, which won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Coates just completed a year in Paris on a writing fellowship.

About Festival Albertine

Inaugurated in 2014 in the newly-opened Albertine Books, Festival Albertine has quickly become a vital summit for discourse between leading French-speaking and American thinkers, and has cemented Albertine Books’ reputation as New York City’s hub for French-American intellectual exchange. In its first two years, the festival has tackled topics ranging from the state of feminism to the future of journalism to efforts to combat climate change. Author, journalist, and cultural critic Greil Marcus curated the 2014 festival, which featured “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, filmmaker Olivier Assayas, author Mary Gaitskill, graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi, Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, and Fields Medal-winning mathematician Cédric Villani. Festival Albertine 2015 enlisted innovators including National Book Award winner Judith Thurman, Performa founding director RoseLee Goldberg, author Adam Gopnik, Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu, and The New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly to curate a variety of discussions. Participants included The New Yorker editor David Remnick, graphic novelist Phoebe Gloeckner, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author Margo Jefferson, and author Katie Roiphe, who were joined by French-speaking voices including Mauritania-born film director Abderrahmane Sissako, Algerian novelist Kamel Daoud, and cartoonist and film director Riad Sattouf.

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