TONINO BENACQUISTA is one of French literature's most versatile talents. His work in cinema as a script-writer led to his winning a César (the European equivalent of an Oscar) for his screen play Sur mes lèvres (Read My Lips) (2001). He began his career as a writer with a series of well-received mystery novels that he researched in part while working on the French railroads. Quelqu'un d'autre (Someone Else) (2002) strikes a different mood. Two strangers meet in a bar and strike a pact to see how radically their lives can change during the next three years. His most recent novel, Malavita (Songs of a Life of Crime) (2004), explores with Cartesian precision what would happen if an American Mafia family were squirreled away in Normandy as part of a witness protection program. During his stay at Florida State, Tonino Benacquista will read from Someone Else. There will also be a screening of his most recent film, the critically acclaimed De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (The Beat My Heart Skipped) (2005), after which he will respond to questions from the audience.
ELIZABETH DEWBERRY's work includes the plays Flesh and Blood and Four Joans and a Fire-Eater as well as the novels Many Things Have Happened to Me Since He Died, Break the Heart of Me and Sacrament of Lies. In her latest novel, His Lovely Wife, due out in March 2006, the protagonist is mistaken for Princess Diana during a visit to Paris just before Diana dies, after which she begins to hear Di's voice as she pursues an attraction to a member of the paparazzi who photographed them both. A French translation will appear in the summer of 2006.
BARBARA HAMBY is a poet and Writer-in-Residence at Florida State Univeristy. Her first full-length book, Delirium, won the Vassar Miller Prize, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Prize. Her second book, The Alphabet of Desire, won the New York University Prize for Poetry and was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 25 best books of 1999. Her third book, Babel, was chosen by Stephen Dunn for the 2003 AWP/Donald Hall Prize. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2000, Pushcart Prizes 2001, The Paris Review, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review and many other magazines.
DAVID KIRBY, poet and Professor of English at Florida State University, has received many honors for his work, including the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and citations in Best American Poetry 2000 and 2001, and Pushcart Prize XXV. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Florida Arts Council. Kirby is the author or co-author of twenty-two books, including the poetry collections The Ha-Ha, The House of Blue Light, and The Traveling Library in addition to a collection of essays, What Is a Book? His verse has appeared in such publications as The Kenyon Review, Southern Review, and Ploughshares. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, Kirby also writes regularly for The New York Times Book Review, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
BERNARD PASCUITOdirects a French publishing house showcasing the work of American authors, especially thrillers and crime fiction. He has recently published long-awaited new editions of translations of novels by John O'Hara, Ring Lardner and Robert B. Parker and previously untranslated works by Budd Schulberg, Kathryn Chetkovitch and others. The French edition of Schulberg's Sanctuary V won the Prix Littéraire at the 2005 Deauville Festival. Pascuito will shortly publish the French translation of Elizabeth Dewberry's His Lovely Wife.
DANIEL PENNAC has redesigned the literary geography of Paris. In the northeastern part of the city is a section called Belleville, a sprawling, multi-ethnic neighborhood which Daniel Pennac claims to be only truly integrated part of the nation's capital. Until recently Belleville was such an insular space in the city that it really did not even seem like Paris. But then the Malaussène family arrived via Daniel Pennac's imagination. The family or rather tribe has numerous offspring, several adopted siblings and a very smart dog. Their (mis)adventures, over a series of novels, have made Belleville (at least the imaginary one) Paris's literary center, and brought Daniel Pennac great acclaim. Yet in the midst of his Malaussène celebrity, Daniel Pennac found time to write Comme un roman (Better Than Life/Reads Like a Novel) (1992), an extraordinary, and extraordinarily low-key tribute to the joy of reading, and then a very different novel, set in Brazil, Le Dictateur et le hamac (2003). These days a hammock is the last place you will find Daniel Pennac. Always a political activist and a theater buff, he is currently appearing on the Champs-Elysées in his one-person play, Merci, while remaining involved in French social issues. During his visit to Florida State Daniel Pennac will perform the U.S. première of Merci, read from Comme un roman and lecture on the riots which rocked French cities in the fall of 2005.
JEAN- PHILIPPE POSTEL may already have been encountered by students of contemporary French literature in the pages of The French Review where he has occasionally contributed always insightful comments on the novel in France today. However, a much larger audience will recognize him as the author, along with Eric Duchâtel of two very rich and funny novels, Pandore et l'ouvre-boîte (1999), and Grenouillages (2002). The richness of both these works stems from the wealth of literary allusions, word games, and parodies that figure so discreetly in these novels that a reader could enjoy the stories just for themselves. Jean-Philippe Postel has also written short stories. For his visit to Florida State he composed "La Diabolique invention de Pierre-André Pichon,¨ which will delight and challenge the students of French literature, enrolled and otherwise, who have the pleasure of reading this specially written story.
ALIX RAYNAUD DE PRIGNY is a cinema production consultant and manager specializing in film adaptations of literary works, in which she trained on the European Union's Media Plus Program. She manages a production company founded by French film director Jacques Jacques Audiard and is currently advising on a number of adaptations including a screen version of Tonino Benacquista's novel Quelqu'un d'autre (Someone Else) and dramatizations of Alexandre Vialatte's fiction.
VALERIE SCOON has spent 15 years working in Hollywood where she was an executive at Warner Bros, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films and PBS. She is currently a Professor in the Florida State Film School where she teaches producing, screenwriting and documentaries. In addition, she has an independent production company, True Visions, Inc. where she produces documentaries and features.
MARK WINEGARDNER, the Burroway Professor of English at Florida State University, is the author of ten books, including the story collection That's True of Everybody and the novels The Veracruz Blues, Crooked River Burning, and The Godfather Returns (a New York Times Bestseller, translated into seventeen languages). His books have been chosen as among the best of the year by The New York Times Book Review, the New York Public Library, The American Library Association, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Sun-Times. The final volume of the Corleone Family saga, The Godfather's Revenge, is forthcoming from G.P. Putnam & Sons.