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Conference programme


1974-2024: Annie Ernaux’s Years – a Global Perspective, 

University of Edinburgh & University of St Andrews, 

3-5 October 2024



Wednesday 2 October, French Institute, Edinburgh (West Parliament Square, Edinburgh EH1 1RN) – screening of David Ernaux-Briot’s The Super 8 Years, organised by the French Institute, with a Q&A with Fabien Arribert-Narce and Elise Hugueny-Léger (information and reservation available here)

Thursday 3 October, French Institute, Edinburgh  (West Parliament Square, Edinburgh EH1 1RN) 2pm Conference opening 


2.15pm-3pm Keynote paper: Barbara Havercroft (University of Toronto, Canada), “Trauma and agency in the works of Annie Ernaux”


3pm-4pm Plenary session

-Pierre-Louis Fort (CY Cergy-Paris Université, France), “Annie Ernaux: from award to award”

-Michèle Bacholle (Eastern Connecticut State University, U.S.A.), “Annie Ernaux and the U.S.A.”


4pm-4.30pm Coffee break


4.30pm-5.30pm Plenary session

-Karin Schwerdtner (Western University, Canada), “Readers’ responses to A Girl’s story

-Ania Wroblewski (University of Guelph, Canada), “Annie Ernaux, theorist of sex and love”


6pm-7pm Conversation with Annie Ernaux (online), interpreter/translator: Julia Hartley



Friday 4 October, University of Edinburgh



Parallel session: Annie Ernaux abroad/in translation

-Luigi Pinton (University of Cambridge, U.K.), “The curious case of Annie Ernaux’s Italian reception”

-Claudine Borg and Marilyn Mallia (University of Malta), “Teaching and translating L’événement in the Maltese Context”


Parallel session: Intersectional readings

-Matilda Nevin (University of St Andrews, U.K.), “‘Si violent mais d’une violence libératrice’: Violence as tool, strategy and obstacle in Annie Ernaux’s writing”

-Clément Génibrèdes (Princeton University, U.S.A.), “‘Venger ma race et venger mon sexe ne feraient plus qu’un désormais’. The intersection of feminism and class struggle in Les Années and Les Années Super 8

-Hannah Volland (University of Toronto, Canada), “‘A realm both social and feminist’: Commitment and life-writing in Annie Ernaux”


11am-11.30am Coffee break


11.30am-12.30pm Round table discussion on the translation and reception of Annie Ernaux’s works with Sonja Finck (Ernaux’s German translator) and Julia Hartley (University of Glasgow, interpreter)


12.30pm-1pm Patti Miller, “Triggering Desire” (creative response)


1pm-2pm Lunch break 



Parallel session: Influence and legacy

-Laura Campos (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), “When the self is  transpersonal: writings bequeathed by Annie Ernaux”

-Christina Ernst (ZfL Berlin/Universität Wien, Germany/Austria), “On the German adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s poetics in contemporary transclasse-literature, and the invention of autosociobiography as a genre”

-Annie Jouan-Westlund (Cleveland State University, U.S.A.), “From reading Annie Ernaux to writing: Didier Eribon and Edouard Louis”


Parallel session: Writing in a capitalist world

-Sarah Carlotta Hechler (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), “Impersonal, personal, transpersonal: Annie Ernaux’s ‘journaux extimes’”

-Nicole Sellew (University of St Andrews, U.K.), “Lack: desire and capitalism in the work of Annie Ernaux”

-Sonja Stojanovic (Texas Tech University, U.S.A.), “The end of the cashier or shopping with Annie Ernaux”


3.30pm-4pm Coffee break



4pm-5.30pmParallel session: Abortion stories

-Sophie Feng (University of Toronto, Canada), “On life-writing as Maieutics: Feminist praxis and a poetics of telling in L’événement (Happening)”

-Caroline Godard (University of California- Berkeley, U.S.A.), “Abortion as collective creation in Ernaux’s L’événement and Sciamma’s Portrait de la jeune fille en feu”

-Tamzin Elliott (Durham University, U.K.), “Annie and her avortées: the aborto-socio-biographical afterlives of L’événement


Parallel session: Reading and the author-image

-Antonella Ippolito (University of Potsdam, Germany), “Shaping minds, freeing the mind: The ambivalence of books as a power dispositive in Annie Ernaux’s auto-sociobiographical work”

-Tommaso Testolin (University of Padova, Italy), “Writing as eavesdropping: Annie Ernaux and the new image of the author”

-Fanny Cardin (Université Paris Cité, France), “‘Une sorte de destin de femme’: Annie Ernaux and anglophone women’s life writings, a specific corpus of intertextual references”


5.30pm-6pm Anna Kirstine Linke, “Future Nostalgia” (creative response)



Saturday 5 October, University of St Andrews



Parallel session: the local and the global

-Morgane Cadieu (Yale, U.S.A.), “The Ys of Annie Ernaux”

-Victoria Baena (Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge, U.K.), “Shifting scale: Annie Ernaux’s political geography of provincial life”

-Akane Kawakami (Birkbeck, University of London, U.K.), “Everyday time: Ernaux in supermarkets, trains and the métro”


Parallel session: Writing age

-Sophia Millman (Princeton University, U.S.A.), “Transforming Gerontological Politics: Simone de Beauvoir, Annie Ernaux, and the Emergence of the Age Autobiography”

-Sarah Tribout-Joseph (University of Edinburgh, U.K.), “Care and Attention in Annie Ernaux’ Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit and John Bayley’s Iris: Pathography or Carer Narrative?”

-Margery Vibe Skagen (University of Bergen, Norway), “Sexual liberation, ageing and the end of love: Reading Ernaux through the lenses of Houellebecq”


11am-11.30am Coffee break




Parallel session: Beauvoir and Ernaux

-Carole-Anne Sweeney (Goldsmiths University of London, U.K.), “Writing feminist philosophy: Annie Ernaux and Simone de Beauvoir”

-Benoit Monginot, (University of Turin, Italy), “Diary and commitment: Ernaux and the Beauvoirian legacy”

-Barbara Halla (Duke University, U.S.A.), “Ernaux, Beauvoir and the ethics of being an object of desire”


Parallel session: The creative process

-Alice Blackhurst (independent critic and scholar, U.K.), “Annie Ernaux à deux: dialogues and dualities”

-Betsy Marks-Smith (Institut Catholique de Paris, France), “A novel in twenty-eight pages: Creative process, genre hybridity, and memory layering in Le jeune homme (The Young Man)”

-Iringó Cora (Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania), “The manuscripts as ‘archi-trace’ of Ernaux’s work. L’usage de la photo, from manuscript to book”


1pm-2pm Lunch break



Parallel session: Text-image dialogues

-Sonia Lagerwall (University of Bergen, Norway), “‘Image-thinking’ in Annie Ernaux’s transpersonal writing”

-Jacqueline Dougherty (University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A), “Auto-photo-filmography: Annie Ernaux’s ekphrastic intermediality”

-François Dussart (Université de Lille, France), “Annie Ernaux and the Arts”


Parallel session: Life-writing forms

-James Conlon (Mount Mary University, Wisconsin, U.S.A), “Annie Ernaux and Augustine: Life-writing as philosophy”

-Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos (Johns Hopkins University, U.S.A.), “Choral essayism in Les Années

-Emelyn Lih (New York University, U.S.A.), “Experience and expectation in Les Années


4pm-4.30pm Coffee break


4.30pm-5pm: Conference close & award of the WIF (Women in French UK-Irelant) prize for best postgraduate paper


5pm-6pm: Drinks reception at the Byre Theatre and launch of the exhibition “Palimpself: A Sculptural Exploration into Materiality in the Works of Annie Ernaux” with artist Susan Diab 




Conference registration and further details are available at:


Conference organisers: Fabien Arribert-Narce, University of Edinburgh ( & Elise Hugueny-Léger, University of St Andrews (


Conference sponsors:


  • Ambassade de France au Royaume-Uni
  • Institut français d’Ecosse
  • SELF XX-XXI (Société d’étude de la littérature de langue française du XXe et du XXIe siècles)
  • The Society for French Studies
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of St Andrews
  • Women in French UK & Ireland