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(Hybrid) Lessons from Language with Brian Dillon

Thu February 29 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


Essayist and critic Brian Dillon joins us at the Library to share his love of language.

Have you ever read a single sentence that sticks with you, or seen a piece of art that lingers in the back of your mind years later? How do our encounters with literature and art become parts of us–features of our personal and collective cultural consciousness? 

Writer, critic, and art-lover Brian Dillon revels in the pleasures of the word. In his quest to understand and experiment with these pleasures, Dillon has published four books with Fitzcarraldo Editions. Essayism, a consideration of the craft of the essay, demands that we consider “a type of writing so hard to define its very name means a trial.” Suppose a Sentence collects essays inspired by single, striking sentences in literary history. Affinities asks why things are drawn together, and we drawn to things. Refusing the position of the critic as distanced from the creative process, Dillon insists upon the simple joy of reading, looking, learning, and making. Personal, poetic, and reflective, each book is a new try at writing. Join Dillon in celebrating major and minor moments in art and literature, marveling at the mechanics of prose and the lessons we can glean from it.

About the speaker:

Brian Dillon was born in Dublin in 1969. His books include Suppose a Sentence, Essayism, The Great Explosion (shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize), Objects in This Mirror: Essays, I Am Sitting in a Room, Sanctuary, Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and In the Dark Room, which won the Irish Book Award for non-fiction. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, London Review of Books, the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, frieze and Artforum. He has curated exhibitions for Tate and Hayward galleries. He lives in London.

Learn more:

A review in The Guardian describes Dillon’s latest book, Affinities, as “an invitation to look together,” or “to attend closely in the company of someone else.”  Read the review here. 

Dillon’s book Suppose a Sentence is a series of essays, each of which examines a single sentence in a work of literature. Read an excerpt from the book (a contemplation of a sentence by Charlotte Brontë) 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.

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.


Thu February 29
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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(Hybrid) Lessons from Language with Brian Dillon
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