November 2014: Shakespeare and Company Events

November 2014: Shakespeare and Company Events

Hello, dear readers! Once the full version of our new website is live, we’ll have a dedicated events page—but for now, I’m sharing upcoming event listings here on Le Blog. Here’s what we have coming up for November. It’s jam-packed full of literary, musical, and philosophical delights…

+— Monday 3rd November 7pm —+


We’re thrilled to be celebrating the publication of the third volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-1965 in the company of editor Dan Gunn.

The Letters of Samuel Beckett is the first comprehensive edition of the letters of Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), providing access to primary sources now scattered in archives and private collections world-wide. Through The Letters, students, scholars, critics, and theatre artists can trace the evolution of Beckett’s work with increased insight into his choices as a writer.

This third volume of The Letters of Samuel Beckett focuses on the years when Beckett was striving to find a balance between the demands put upon him by his growing international fame, and his need for the peace and silence from which new writing might emerge. This is the period in which Beckett launched into work for radio, film and, later, into television. It also marks his return to writing fiction, with his first major piece for a decade, Comment c’est (How It Is). Where hitherto he had been reticent about the writing process, now he devotes letter after letter to describing and explaining his work in progress. For the first time Beckett has a woman as his major correspondent: a relationship shown in his intense and abundant letters to Barbara Bray.

Read the Independent review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, vol. 3

Read The Evening Standard review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, vol.3

+— Wednesday 12th November 3pm —+


Children’s Hour—music, rhythm, and stories for kids. Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs, and stories in English (for all nationalities, even those who don’t speak English). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit, this lovely event has become an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated.

Due to space restrictions, we ask that you email Kate at to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!

+— Thursday 13th November 6pm —+


The Bard-en-Seine Readings

Throughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter.

For November, the play will be Twelfth Night and the reading will take place on Thursday 13th at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin at, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated play for the remaining month of 2014 is:

December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.

+— Monday 17th November 7pm —+


We’re excited to announce the most perfect bookshop event imaginable (form and content so perfectly aligned)—Jen Campbell on The Bookshop Book!

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches, and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France. Meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains. Meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.  And that’s just the beginning.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

Jen Campbell grew up in the northeast of England, and graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in English Literature. She is a published poet and short-story writer. She lives in north London where she works at Ripping Yarns bookshop. She is previously the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops.

+— Wednesday 19th November 7pm —+


Philosophers in the Library presents… Jacques Rancière

We’re very excited to present a discussion with French philosopher Jacques Rancière, undoubtedly one of France’s most exciting contemporary thinkers. We will begin by opening up his unique conception of equality, education and, indeed, knowledge itself, before considering how this crucial thinking intersects the genres of politics, history, and aesthetics, paying particular attention to his newest title, Le Fil Perdu, which is concerned with literary modernism.

+— Friday 21st November 7pm —+


Join us in the library for an open reading of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood with musical accompaniment! The reading will be complemented by songs composed by Daniel Jones for the original BBC recording of Under Milk Wood in the 1950s, led here by Jesse Morning and Kate Stables of This is the Kit (and Children’s Hour!) fame. If you’d like to attend, we recommend you bring along your own copy of Under Milk Wood.

+— Monday 24th November 7pm —+


We’re over the moon to welcome the marvellous Eleanor Catton to talk about The Luminaries, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic, and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery.

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. She won the 2007 Sunday Star-Times short-story competition, the 2008 Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the 2008 Louis Johnson New Writers’ Bursary, and was named as one of Amazon’s Rising Stars in 2009. Her debut novel, The Rehearsal, won the Betty Trask Prize, the First Novel Award, the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Prix Femina literature award, the abroad category of the Prix Médicis, the University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize 2010, and Stonewall’s Writer of the Year Award 2011, and longlisted for the Orange Prize 2010. In 2010 she was awarded the New Zealand Arts Foundation New Generation Award.

+— Wednesday 26th November 4pm —+


“Mesmerizing songs that approach the dark magic of Marilynne Robinson’s novel, Housekeeping“—NJ Star Ledger

We’re excited to present an intimate library concert with the luminous Rachel Ries.

Rachel Ries crafts sly and compassionate songs for the crooked hearted. With an electric guitar, clear voice, and steady hand, she pulls the listener into her world of city grit, country dirt, and her open-eyed search for redemption and reason. Her songs are fine-tuned delicacy with a snarl and disarming candour.

Rachel Ries is currently promoting Ghost of a Gardener, her first record in five years, described by Uncut as a “gorgeous gush of warm-blooded harmonies” and by Maverick UK as a “technicolor treasure in word and melody”.

+— Wednesday 26th November 7.30pm —+


Please join us for a tribute to Manning, Assange, and Snowden, organised and sponsored by Italian sculptor Davide Dormino and his supporters, Charles Glass, Laure Boulay, Marco Benagli, and Jean Michel Boissier.

The purpose of this occasion is to show gratitude to Manning, Assange, and Snowden for their revelations and the risks they took to bring them to public notice.

See this video for more about “Anything to say?”


William Bourdon, distinguished French human rights advocate and lawyer for Edward Snowden

Jean Michel Boissier of Reporters Sans Frontieres

This event coincides with a simultaneous celebration at London’s Frontline Club

The project is supported by the president of the Human Rights Committee of the Italian parliament, Mario Marazziti and Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF).

+— Thursday 27th November 6.30pm —+


Philosophers in the Library presents… The Animal Catalyst

To talk of an ahuman ethics in the second decade of the 21st century is to suggest that we, as human animals, are verging on a crisis—both existential and technological. In an age in which financial and military algorithms may well soon have legal status as persons, while ecosophically the viability of sustaining human life is dubious and potentially beyond true ethics. The question of the legal and ontological status of non-human animals, machinic life, and emergent systems of consciousness, and our relation to them as ahuman, becomes ever more pressing. Looking at notions of catalysis, cataclysm, parasitism, and phenomenophagism, and in the face of potential human, organic, solar, or even cosmic extinction, Charlie Blake explores the question of where we go from here. How are we to understand the apparent will to annihilation as an aspect of a new, ahuman ethics? Patricia MacCormack will further this exploration by questioning the viability of non-extinction of the human, proposing that human extinction is the very conduit to opening all other life— indeed life itself—to unregulated and non-systematised modes of connectivity and potentiality.


All our events are free and open to all. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.

About Laura

Laura Keeling is Events and Communications Manager at Shakespeare and Company.