I present to you Festival Albertine. Showcasing its mission as a space for French-American intellectual exchange, Albertine, the new reading room and bookshop in the French Embassy, will soon host to a six-day free festival featuring leading French and American thinkers and artists. Among the distinguished speakers will be Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, filmmaker Olivier Assayas, author Mary Gaitskill, screenwriter, author, and film director Emmanuel Carrère, graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi, Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, and Fields Medal-winning mathematician Cédric Villani.
In one of his most famous works, Hemingway, who is also a great French-American-minded thinker, describes Paris as “a moveable feast.”
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Festival Albertine too is meant to be a moveable feast, in a couple of senses. First, you will be surrounded by everything French. French people, French books, French words in the air (the events are in English, but they tend to slip in). Albertine offers New Yorkers a glimpse not only into Paris but into the very transportable intellectual life of France, one that pops up in philosophy texts, fashion magazines, on blackboards in math labs, and in conversation at a cafés, all around the world. Here, at Albertine, the French moveable feast will materialize—and we want you to be a part of it.
Second, Festival Albertine, like the moveable feast of Paris, is a series of events that we hope will stay with you, just like the spirit of Paris. I share the opinion of Emmanuel Carrère, expressed in his book Le Royaume, that writing with pen and paper is the only way to truly preserve our creativity—computers, disks, become obsolete or defunct. So I invite you to this intellectual feast, taking place in the real world, not the cyber one. I hope that this festival serves as an intellectual voyage around books that takes participants to different lands of new ideas and discoveries, from physics to poetry.
I hope to see you at the Festival soon.