Hilary Kaiser Launches French War Brides: Mademoiselle and the American Soldier

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war bridesHilary Kaiser is speaking at several venues in France and the U.S. to share the engaging stories of French War Brides: Mademoiselle and the American Soldier from WWI and WWII. This new edition, which was published by the Paris Writers Press, tells the stories of 6500 Franco-American marriages that took place between French Mademoiselles and American soldiers, be they “doughboys” or GI’s.

These women, who came from different parts of France and diverse backgrounds, would later cross the Atlantic to join their husbands, settle in various corners of America, suffer culture shock, and adapt to marriage in a foreign land of postwar plenty with varying degrees of success. Despite the difficulties, like many other immigrants, they got on with it and survived. Most of them did, in their own way, live the American dream.

The American Library in Paris will be hosting Hilary on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at 7:30 pm. Books will be available.

See Hilary’s personal profile in the Who We Are section of this website. French War Brides: Mademoiselle and the American Soldier is available at Shakespeare and Company Bookstore Paris, D.G. Wills in La Jolla, and Albertine in NYC.
Also on Amazon.com.

Parisian of the Month: Mary Duncan

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From I Prefer Paris by Richard Neham


I am happy to have my friend and organizer of the Paris Writers Group, which I have belonged to since inception in 2008, Mary Duncan, as Parisian of the Month. Enjoy this eye opening interview.


Neham: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Duncan: I was born and raised in San Diego, the land of sunshine, beaches, Margaritas and Dr. Seuss.

When and why did you move to Paris?
During the early 1980’s, I decided to live in Paris. In 2000, after many years of planning, I embarked on an early retirement program at San Diego State University where I was a professor, bought an apartment and now live between Paris and La Jolla, California.  Paris nourishes and energizes me. It’s intangible, but real.

When did you develop an interest in writing and literature?
Reading and writing have always been my favorite activities. I used to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and smuggle them into the neighborhood library.

My Ph.D. dissertation, “The Effects of Social Conflict on Leisure Patterns in Belfast, N. Ireland,” paved the way for world travel and numerous research adventures to Nicaragua,  Tehran,  Berlin, Russia, Mexico and even Paris.  Curiosity drives me and it never seems to be satisfied.

How and why did you start the Paris Writers Group?
Since 1988, I’ve been a member of the San Diego Writing Women. After I moved to Paris, I really missed our monthly meetings. In  2008, I created the Paris Writers Group.  We started in my living room with www.pariswritersgroup.net

You’ve lived many lives in many places. You were once a Playboy bunny. What was that experience like?
I laughed out loud when I read this question.  I was never a Bunny. I had the boobs but not the legs. For over twelve years, I was a fairly regular guest at the Playboy Mansion.  Max Lerner, the late Los Angeles Times syndicated columnist and writer, was a good friend of Hugh Hefner. I was a friend of Max.

Staying at the Mansion was like living in a five-star hotel where you never received a bill.  Twenty-four hour room service, valets, maids, gym, grotto and pool, tennis, a game room with a billiard table, three private bedrooms for assignations, a vast film collection, a masseuse, all surrounded by a multi-million dollar art collection.  Dali, Pollack, Matisseand others adorned the walls.

In my book, Henry Miller is Under My Bed: People and Places on the way to Paris (2011), the chapter, “Breakfast at Hef’s”, has a colorful description of life at the Mansion. Actors James Caan and Tony Curtiswere regulars. My favorites were the writers and directors like Shel Silverstein and Richard Brooks. Some of the most stimulating intellectual conversations I’ve ever had took place around Hef’s breakfast table.

In my first life, I was a minister’s wife. I made up for those traditional years at the Playboy Mansion.

Please tell us about the time you spent in Moscow and the bookshop you owned.
In 1988, I met my husband, Yuri Loskutov, while participating in a Human Rights conference in Moscow.  After we were married in 1989, I began living there when I wasn’t teaching. Contemporary English language books were scarce. George Whitman, the late owner of Shakespeare and Company Paris, encouraged me to open a bookstore in Moscow.  I found a Russian partner who already had a small literary bookstore. We opened on April Fool’s Day in 1996 because everyone said we were fools to do it.

In those days, Delta let me bring three large seventy pound bags, filled with books and never charged me for excess luggage.  When Russian customs tried to charge me fees, I smiled and told them to keep the books and drink them with their tea.  They always waved me through.

From the first day, Shakespeare and Company Moscow became the literary center for Expats and English speaking Russians.  Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Andrei Voznesensky and Masha Gessen, who now writes for the New York Times, were featured guests. We rapidly earned a reputation for our well-stocked lounge, which featured Starbucks Coffee, vodka and red wine.  Some readers would get tipsy while browsing for books. Yes, it helped improve the sales.

In the 90’s, Moscow was like the Wild West and I thrive in these dynamic, fast-moving environments.  We closed in 2003 after Putin’s corrupt bureaucrats and mafia made life difficult for small businesses.

If you could invite one writer living or dead to dinner, whom  would you select and where would you take them.
There are two. Erica Jong and David McCullough.  I’d take her to Jean-Georges in NYC. David McCulloughand I would go to the newly renovated Ritz. It’s not too late. They are both still living. I’m ever hopeful.

Who are some of your favorite French writers and books?
Colette and Simone de Beauvoir were fearless nontraditional role models. Simone chose her intellect over her heart and paid a heavy price in personal happiness.  Colette managed to have both.

After reading The Second Sex, I realized why I often felt out-of-step with society’s expectations. Beauvoir’s concept of alterity, living your life through others, revolutionized my thinking. I decided to forge my own path and not worry about the consequences. Financial independence was an important key to that decision.  My first article in the Huffington Post was “How I Retired Early and Moved to Paris.”   huffingtonpost.com/mary-duncan

What is the book you are currently writing?
The rue de la Bucherie is the focus of my current book.  It has a rich literary legacy intertwined with the history of the street.

You have a fascination with Henry Miller; you wrote the book Henry Miller is Under my Bed and have a large archive of original Henry Miller materials. What attracted you to Henry Miller’s work and your fascination with him?
Bradley Smith, a Time/Life photographer and writer, wrote two books with Henry Miller. As a result, he had an archive of Henry’s taped interviews, photographs and letters. I used to sit on the floor of Bradley’s home office in the hills of La Jolla, listening to Henry’s deep Brooklyn accent. Miller died in 1980, so I never met him. But I absolutely coveted those materials. After Bradley died in 1997, I purchased the archive from his estate as well as the rights to five of Bradley’s books.

Two years ago, Dorothy’s Gallery hosted an exhibit of the photographs.

Paris Writers Press Receives Grant for Translating Jean-Jacques Pauvert’s Memoir

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The Paris Writers Press has received an award from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication through the National Book Center, to fund the translation of La Traversée du livre, a memoir written by the iconic French publisher Jean-Jacques Pauvert (1926 – 2014). The new English translation An Odyssey in Books, is scheduled to be available by December 2015. Éditions Viviane Hamy published the original French version in 2004.

In his prize-winning memoir La Traversée du livre  (An Odyssey in Books), Jean-Jacques Pauvert recounts in vivid detail, his meteoric rise to the top of the French book world, which started 1942 in the mailroom of Gallimard publishers.  By the tender age of twenty, he openly published the banned works of the Marquis de Sade leading to a protracted legal struggle with the French authorities. A similar firestorm erupted when he published Histoire D’O (The Story of O) in 1954, a daring work by Pauline Reage, a pseudonym used by Dominique Aury. His other authors included Gide, Sartre, Bataille, Genet, Beauvoir and Breton.

Pauvert’s memoir also describes his being arrested and jailed for three months by the Nazis for his role as a courier with the Resistance.

An Odyssey in Books is a captivating story of a young man figuring out how to be a publisher as he went along and an invaluable social history of art, literature, politics, and Parisian life from World War II to the May 1968 revolution.

The winner of the 2005 Elle Magazine Reader’s Grand Prize, the new English edition, An Odyssey in Books, was translated by Lynn Jeffress.

The National Book Center or Centre National du Livre (CNL) provides grants for translations of high quality French literature.  Since 2001, the National Book Center has supported more than 6,400 projects for translation from French into foreign languages.

In 2014, approximately 600,000 Euros were allocated for translations. The CNL funds from forty to sixty percent of translation costs. The Paris Writers Press will receive sixty percent, the maximum allocation.

The Paris Writers Press, founded by Mary Duncan in 2011, is a small independent press committed to publishing books, which focus on lingering social and political issues.  PWP publishes literary fiction, non-fiction, memoirs and French translations that relate to France.

For more information contact:  Mary Duncan   pariswriterspress@gmail.com   www.pariswriterspress.com

 

Social Media Etiquette : Five Tips for Writers in the Era of Twitter and Facebook

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by Laurel Zuckerman, Editor of Paris Writers News

Writers are increasingly succumbing to loutish behavior on the social networks.  Here are a few tips for a return to civility in the #sm era:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Consideration for others is the key to polite behavior on the internet as in real life. If you respect one and only one rule – treat others as you want to be treated yourself – you will be fine.

Here are some gentle questions to help you to adjust your behavior:

1) Do you enjoy following tweeters who write nothing but  « my book is great » and  « buy my book » ? Why not ?

2) You have NEVER bothered to « like » your writer friends’ book pages on Facebook, but your book is coming out tomorrow and your publisher wants you to ask your friends to like its Facebook page… This is ok, isn’t it ?

3) You are far too principled to write a five star review on Amazon/Goodreads/Librarything… just because the author is a friend (in fact you would be personally offended if a writer friend asked you to compromise your integrity), but the PR guy at your publisher is hysterical : can’t your friends write five star reviews quick, quick?

4) Facebook has this great feature that enables you to enroll your friends in groups of your own invention. And also to send messages to all your friends, including daily announcements about your terrific new book. Zuckerberg wouldn’t have invented if he didn’t want us to use it, would he ?

5) Advanced twitter users keep sticking your twitter handle in their tweets so that they appear in your email. Sometimes it’s great and make sense, but other times it’s so clearly self-promotion you can’t stand it. How to tell which is which ?

Bonus questions : What kind of Facebook posts and tweets do you personally appreciate? Are grateful for as an author ? Consider a favor you would be delighted to return?

If you’re in doubt about the do’s and don’ts of social media, don’t worry: we all are!

My pet peeves are reserved – not for authors trying to do their best – but for publishers who are too lazy to do serious PR themselves (and as a result are pushing it onto authors) and for social media giants like Facebook who keep changing the rules just as we begin to understand them.

If there is such confusion concerning the lines between the personal and the professional it is mostly because that’s how $100 billion companies like Facebook hope to earn their profits. So beware. Social media is new and still largely uncharted.  I hope these few simple questions will help you to navigate safely and successfully.