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May 18
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Talk: Maylis de Kerangal and Jessica Moore ONLINE EVENT The Center for Fiction 15 Lafayette Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217

King Kong Theory

Virginie Despentes | Translated by Frank Wynne

Out of print in the U.S. for far too long, writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes’s autobiographical feminist manifesto is back—in an improved English translation—“blistering with anger, and so precisely phrased that it feels an injustice to summarize it” (Nadja Spiegelman, New York Review of Books).

I write from the realms of the ugly, for the ugly, the old, the bull dykes, the frigid, the unfucked, the unfuckable, the hysterics, the freaks, all those excluded from the great meat market of female flesh. And if I’m starting here it’s because I want to be crystal clear: I’m not here to make excuses, I’m not here to bitch. I wouldn’t swap places with anyone because being Virginie Despentes seems to me a more interesting gig than anything else out there.

Powerful, provocative, and personal, King Kong Theory is a candid account of how the author of Baise-moi and Vernon Subutex came to be Virginie Despentes. Drawing from personal experience, Despentes shatters received ideas about rape and prostitution, and explodes common attitudes about sex and gender.

An autobiography, a call for revolt, a manifesto for a new punk feminism, King Kong Theory is Despentes’s most beloved and reviled work, and is here made available again in a brilliant new translation by Frank Wynne.


Virginie Despentes is a writer and filmmaker. She worked in an independent record store in the early ’90s, was a sex worker, and published her first novel, Baise-moi, when she was twenty-three. She adapted the novel for the screen in 2000, codirecting with the porn star Coralie Trinh Thi. Upon release, it became the first film to be banned in France in twenty-eight years. Despentes is the author of more than fifteen other works, including Apocalypse BabyBye Bye BlondiePretty Things, and the essay collection King Kong Theory.

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