Nadja Spiegelman and Alba Arikha: Trauma, Womanhood and Memoir
Tuesday 20th March 18:30 at London - Gower Street
Join acclaimed writers Nadja Spiegelman and Alba Arikha as they speak to critic Lucy Scholes about their memoirs I’m Supposed to Protect You From This and Major/Minor, exploring themes of memoir-writing, art, family, intergenerational womanhood and the long shadow of the holocaust.
Nadja and Alba both grew up in artistic households, Nadja the daughter of Art Spiegelman (the cartoonist most famous for Maus) and Francoise Mouly (Art Editor of The New Yorker), Alba the daughter of Avigdor Arikha (the iconic Israeli painter) and US poet and author Anna Atik, as well as being goddaughter to Samuel Beckett.
Both memoirs wrestle with feminism – including appearance, rape, sex and abortion, as well as intergenerational trauma – looking at the effect of the Holocaust and WWII across their family. The narratives hone in on the fallibility of memory, intricately and elegantly tracing together experience to understand what we choose to create and forget in the process.
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More about the Books
I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This by Nadja Spiegelman
More than Nadja Spiegelman's father, Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and more than most mothers, hers - French-born New Yorker art director Francoise Mouly - exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja's body changed and 'began to whisper to the adults around me in a language I did not understand', their relationship grew tense. Nadja emerged with a deeper understanding of how each generation reshapes the past and how sometimes those who love us best hurt us most. Readers will recognise themselves and their families in this heartbreaking memoir.
Major/Minor by Alba Arikha
A vivid and haunting coming-of-age memoir set in Paris in the 1980s. Her father was the artist, Avigdor Arikha; her mother the poet, Anne Atik; her godfather, Samuel Beckett. Their apartment/studio, where Alba and her sister grew up, was a hub of literary and artistic achievement, which still reverberates today. Alba's tale is played out against the family memories of war and exile and the ever present echoes of the European holocaust.
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