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(Hybrid) Diaspora Unfurled with Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Tue 24 October 2023 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


Renowned poet and translator Fiona Sze-Lorrain reflects upon the complicated fabric of Chinese identity and diaspora in debut novel Dear Chrysanthemums.

Following up on her many successes as a poet, translator, editor, and musician, Fiona Sze-Lorrain has released her debut novel, Dear Chrysanthemums. The novel takes the form of subtly interconnected stories that span across decades and continents. Each story follows a different woman or group of women as they grapple with generational trauma and memory. Taken together, these women’s stories converge to offer a mosaic of Chinese history and diasporic experience from the mid-twentieth-century through to the recent past. Join Sze-Lorrain as she takes us through the many eras and movements of modern Chinese history, guiding us to a position of informed reflection upon the prismatic present. The conversation will be moderated by Biswamit Dwibedy. 

About the speakers:

Fiona Sze-Lorrain writes and translates in English, French, and Chinese. She is the author of a new “novel in stories,” Dear Chrysanthemums (Scribner, 2023); five poetry collections, most recently Rain in Plural (Princeton, 2020) and The Ruined Elegance (Princeton, 2016); and fifteen books of translation. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Best Translated Book Award, she was also a 2019–20 Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination and the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. She lives in Paris and has performed worldwide as a zheng harpist.

Biswamit Dwibedy was born in Odisha, India, and has an MFA from Bard College, New York. He is currently an assistant professor at the American University of Paris. He is the author of six collections of poetry, published in India and the United States. In 2012, he edited a dossier of Indian poetry in translation from seven different regional languages for Aufgabe, a literary journal published by Litmus Press, New York, and in 2015, he was a judge for the Best Translated Book Award conferred by Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester. He is also the founder and editor of Anew Print, a small press that publishes limited-edition chapbooks from writers in India and abroad. A memoir, Hundred Greatest Love Songs, is forthcoming from Penguin Random House in 2024.

Learn more:

Dear Chrysanthemums has been longlisted for the 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Read a review of Dear Chrysanthemums in the Asian Review of Books.

Listen to Sze-Lorrain as she reads from her poetic collections and translations.  To hear her performance of a classical piece called “High Moon” (月儿高) on the guzheng harp, go to 31:20.

Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (the author 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 Dear Chrysanthemums 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 24 October 2023
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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(Hybrid) Diaspora Unfurled with Fiona Sze-Lorrain
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