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(Hybrid) How to Make Space with Kirsty Bell

Wed February 21 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


In an unparalleled and personal history of Berlin, writer and art critic Kirsty Bell considers the layered process of making, unmaking, and remaking lives, homes, and urban spaces.

In The Undercurrents, the breakdown of a marriage catalyzes an investigation into the places that structure the seasons of our lives. From the perspective of the Berlin apartment which housed her marital life, author Kirsty Bell dives into the archives of the city: from marshy origins, to urban experiments, to wartime devastation and disjointed efforts at rebuilding. Alongside the monumental history of the city, she uncovers the lives of her building’s former inhabitants, vividly conjuring the experiences of people who shared the same urban topography across generations of historical change. In so doing, she draws into light the overlaps in major and minor histories, questions the division of domestic and public spaces, and locates the resonance of body and environment. Join Bell at the Library to discuss the tides within and the psychological, and architectural, structures we build to keep the floods at bay.

About the speaker:

Kirsty Bell is a British/American writer and art critic living in Berlin. She is the author of The Undercurrents: A Story of Berlin, published in 2022 by Fitzcarraldo Editions (UK) and Other Press (US) and The Artist’s House: From Workplace to Artwork (Sternberg Press, 2013), for which she was awarded a Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. A contributing editor of frieze from 2011-2021, she has also published widely in art magazines and exhibition catalogues, lectured in Art Academies throughout Europe, and has been an Advisor at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam since 2015.

Learn more:

In 2022, Kirsty Bell published an essay in Lit Hub that introduces one of The Undercurrents’s key themes: the relationship between domestic life, urban design, and political history in Berlin. Read the essay here.

About Fitzcarraldo February at the Library:

This program is part of Fitzcarraldo February, a series of events at The American Library in Paris featuring authors who have recently published books with the London-based independent publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions. 

Known for their distinctive blue and white covers, and esteemed for their highly selective catalogue, Fitzcarraldo is the leading publisher of innovative, boundary-pushing literature. Founded in 2014 with the mission to publish only twenty-two works per year, the publishing house has already established itself as champion of the most exciting and ambitious literary voices of our time, including four Nobel Prize-winning writers: Svetlana Alexievich (2015), Olga Tokarczuk (2018), Annie Ernaux (2022), and Jon Fosse (2023). The Library is delighted to welcome Marie Darrieussecq, Thea Lenarduzzi, Claudia Durastanti, Vanessa Onwuemezi, Kirsty Bell, and Brian Dillon, all of whose work explores the frontiers of genre, form, and craft, challenging us to rethink what writing can do.

Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (the speaker will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.

Attendance at this event constitutes permission for your photograph or video to be taken at the event and used by the American Library in Paris for marketing, promotional, pedagogical, or other purposes.

Read along with the Library! If you want to prepare ahead of this event, copies of The Undercurrents will be on sale one week in advance, as well as after the event. Stop by Member Services to purchase your copy. Books are generously provided by Smith&Son.

Attendees will have the opportunity to have their copy signed following the conversation.

Evenings with an Author are free and open to the public (with a 10€ suggested donation)
thanks to the generous support of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of GRoW @ Annenberg.


Wed February 21
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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(Hybrid) How to Make Space with Kirsty Bell
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