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(Hybrid) Serving Stories with Edward Chisholm

Tue 12 December 2023 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


In his recent memoir, Edward Chisholm uncovers the chaotic realities behind the calm façade of the Parisian dining room.

After graduating from university in London in 2010, Edward Chisholm moved to Paris, where he hoped to kick off his career as a writer. To make ends meet, he took up a stream of low-paying jobs, including one as a waiter at a high-end restaurant.

In his memoir A Waiter in Paris (2022), Chisholm vividly captures the precarity of life as a service worker in the City of Light. The book has been characterized as “a Dickensian tale” (Publisher’s Weekly) and as a contemporary retelling of George Orwell’s 1933 travelogue Down and Out in Paris and London (The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Mail). Chisholm’s thoughtful critiques of contemporary Parisian society simmer beneath the surface of his whirlwind story, which overflows with colorful characters and memorable scenes. This conversation will be moderated by writer, editor, and academic Russell Williams.

Join us at the Library to hear Chisholm’s reflections on the Parisian restaurant scene and his experience of writing a memoir.


About the speakers:

Edward Chisholm was born in Dorset, England. After graduating from university, he moved to Paris, where he lived and worked for seven years. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times Magazine. His memoir, A Waiter in Paris, was published in 2022. Chisholm is also a screenwriter; he is currently working to develop a TV series.

Russell Williams teaches in the Comparative Literature and English department at the American University of Paris. He is also French editor at the Times Literary Supplement and is currently writing a book called French Weird.

Learn more:

You can read an excerpt from A Waiter in Paris here, on Salon.com.

In 2013 – early in his time as a waiter in Paris – Chisholm wrote an op-ed called “Notes from a Parisian Kitchen” for The New York Times. Read it here.

Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Chisholm 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.

Copies of A Waiter in Paris will be available for purchase at the Library in the week leading up to this event and while the event takes place, generously provided by Smith&Son. All sales support this local independent bookstore.

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.


Tue 12 December 2023
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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(Hybrid) Serving Stories with Edward Chisholm
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