Literature 2.0 : Nathalie Gassel & Joanna Walsh
Nathalie Gassel reads from Stratégie d’une passion and Joanna Walsh from Break.up. Passa Porta's young editorial board proudly presents: a night with two women, two love stories, and two innovative works: email correspondance serves as the backbone of both novels.
Letter-writing, the forgotten corner of literature
Letter-writing has often been looked down on in literature. Where novels and poetry had universal aspirations, letters were considered too personal and banal. Gustave Flaubert, although he himself an avid letter-writer, even thought epistolary novels to be a 'typically feminine' genre -- read: not a serious one.
The epistolary novel, updated
With the advent of the Internet, letter-writing changed fundamentally. Simply refresh your mailbox and new messages come in. Consequently, several recent novels challenge the antiquated distinction between the personal form of the letter and the so-called universality of 'real' literature. One of those is I Love Dick, in which Chris Kraus turned her real-life crush into a fictional character and wrote him letters. Nathalie Gassel & Joanna Walsh follow her footsteps and prove that letter-writing more than deserves its literature title.
Joanna Walsh. Virtual intimacy
Joanna Walsh turns one of her crushes into fiction in her novel Break.up (2018). Nothing out of the ordinary, were it not that the affair played out almost completely online : ‘We met wherever there was WiFi, which is almost everywhere nowadays, so that when you left, there was never a space from which you could be erased, tidied over. There was never a place where you weren’t, a place from which you could be properly missed.’ In a long reflection on her broken relationship, the British author combines her own thoughts with those of writers and philosophers like Baudelaire, Breton, Badiou & Foucault.
Nathalie Gassel. Letters as the perfect pretext
With Stratégie d’une passion, Nathalie Gassel wrote a novel consisting almost entirely of unanswered emails. The ambiguously gendered narrator openly writes about their desire for the person on the receiving end of the conversation. Because she was writing without the obligation of a consistent narrative, Gassel found a space in email correspondence where anything can be expressed: ‘J’ai le projet d’écrire un livre en t’adressant des lettres. C’est un excellent prétexte permettant de dire tout, érotisme, philosophie, amour, corps, humeurs. Je serai directe, pas d’obligation de narration.’
Young editorial board
Nicolas Baudoin, Lisanne De Gendt, Rebecca Ndifo en Tessel Veneboer composed this evening's programme. They are the members of Passa Porta's young editorial board, a platform through which we give creative young people the opportunity to hone their talents as literary programme makers. The young editorial board is behind three of this season's programmes and receives organisational and financial support to realise them.