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(Hybrid) Writing Politics with Giuliano da Empoli

Mon November 27 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


The Library welcomes Giuliano da Empoli for a conversation about his bestselling novel, The Wizard of the Kremlin, in celebration of it's upcoming English publication.

How can fiction operate as a tool for political analysis? What fresh insights might we unlock by understanding geopolitical actors as characters?

Giuliano da Empoli is an accomplished political essayist and social commentator. His recent debut novel, Le Mage du Kremlin (translated into English as The Wizard of the Kremlin) quickly garnered international attention, becoming a popular hit in France, Italy, and beyond. The novel centers on a fictionalized version of a real person: Vladislav Surkov, a former adviser to Vladimir Putin.

Speaking about his decision to tell this story through fiction, rather than a political essay, da Empoli stated: “[A]t the heart of power, and Russian power in particular, there are elements of paradox, a permanent contradiction, an irrationality that only literature could transcribe.” (“[A]u cœur du pouvoir, et du pouvoir russe en particulier, il y a des éléments de paradoxe, une contradiction permanente, une irrationalité que seule la littérature pouvait transcrire.”) Join us to learn more about da Empoli’s novel, his political research, and his thoughts on the relationship between fact and fiction.

This program has been produced in partnership with Le Conversazioni, an international festival that hosts stimulating conversations with writers, philosophers, artists, and other distinguished guests. The author will appear in conversation with Antonio Monda, founder of the festival. 

About the speakers: 

Giuliano da Empoli is an Italian and Swiss political scientist and writer. He teaches at Sciences Po Paris and has published fourteen books on subjects ranging from information overload (Overdose, 2002) to national-populist spin doctors (Les ingénieurs du chaos, 2019). He was Deputy Mayor for Culture in Florence (2009-2012) and a Senior Advisor to the Italian Prime Minister (2014-2016). His first novel, Le Mage du Kremlin (Gallimard, 2022) was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Académie française and is currently being translated in over 30 languages.

Antonio Monda is the founder and Artistic Director of Le Conversazioni and has directed the Rome Film Festival between 2015 and 2021. He has curated exhibitions for the MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Lincoln Center and is currently consulting for the Louvre. He teaches at NYU and is a columnist for RAI and a regular contributor for La Repubblica. The ninth chapter of his ten-volume saga about New York was recently published. His books have been translated into eleven languages.

Learn more:

Listen to Italian journalist Alain Elkann’s interview with Giuliano da Empoli.

Read the New York Times’ reporting on the political influence of da Empoli’s novel here.

Le Conversazioni is an international festival founded in 2006 by Antonio Monda and Davide Azzolini. Initially dedicated exclusively to literature, it’s field of interest and reflections has spread to other disciplines. Watch this video on some of their recent guests.

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

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.


Mon November 27
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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