Colombe Schneck presents Swimming in Paris, in conversation with Katie Kitamura

May 23rd
McNally Jackson Seaport
4 Fulton St.
RSVP Required — see below

From the award-winning and bestselling French author Colombe Schneck, a woman’s personal journey through abortion, sex, friendship, love, and swimming.

At fifty years old, while taking swimming lessons, I finally realized that my body was not actually as incompetent as I’d thought. My physical gestures had been, until then, small, worried, tense. In swimming I learned to extend them. I saw male bodies swimming beside me, and I swam past them, I was delighted, my breasts got smaller, my uterus stopped working. My body, by showing me who I was, allowed me to become fully myself.

In Seventeen, Friendship, and Swimming, Colombe Schneck orchestrates a coming-of-age in three movements. Beautiful, masterfully controlled, yet filled with pathos, they invite the reader into a decades-long evolution of sexuality, bodily autonomy, friendship, and loss.

Schneck’s prose maintains an unwavering intimacy, whether conjuring a teenage abortion in the midst of a privileged Parisian upbringing, the nuance of a long friendship, or a midlife romance. Swimming in Paris is an immersive, propulsive triptych—fundamentally human in its tender concern for every messy and glorious reality of the body, and deeply wise in its understanding of both desire and of letting go.

“This is valuable writing. It has immense vitality. You will encounter a female narrator whose direct and bright-eyed stare at the world, and herself, is without shame or faux modesty. At the same time, it is also a deep study of existence, at various ages and stages in life.” —Deborah Levy, author of Real Estate

“This remarkable novel is both universal in its description of women’s friendships, and specific and particular in its insights into the French Bourgeoisie, which has always been utterly inaccessible to the English language reader. The experience of reading this book is both gutting and exhilarating.” —Ayelet Waldman, author of A Really Good Day

Swimming in Paris is a deep and devastating pleasure. Colombe Schneck writes with bracing intelligence and lucidity; she sees the world, and herself, with hard won clarity. A brave, beautiful, uncommonly tender book about love, death, sex and survival.” —Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies

Colombe Schneck is documentary film director, a journalist, and the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction. She has received prizes from the Académie française, Madame Figaro, and the Société des gens de lettres. The recipient of a scholarship from the Villa Medici in Rome as well as a Stendhal grant from the Institut français, she was born and educated in Paris, where she still lives.



Katie Kitamura’s most recent novel is Intimacies. One of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2021, it was longlisted for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. A recipient of the Rome Prize in Literature, her work has been translated into 21 languages and is being adapted for film and television. She teaches in the creative writing program at New York University.




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