Launch of Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre- 15th june

Join us to celebrate the launch of debut novel Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre, tr. from the French by Sophie Lewis, and published in the U.K. for the first time by Les Fugitives

The author will be in conversation with author and art critic Jonathan Gibbs, and the translator, who will also say a few words, will be reading an excerpt from the book, in an event generously supported by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni.

A contemporary novel of angst and high farce, Blue Self-Portrait unfolds among Berlin’s cultural institutions but is more truly located in the mid-air flux between contrary impulses to remember and to ignore. The inner monologue of a woman haunted by German composer Arnold Schoenberg’s portrait, following a complex romantic encounter with an American-German pianist-composer in Berlin. As the irresistible, impossible narrator flies home she unpicks her social failures while the pianist reaches towards a musical self-portrait with all the resonance of Schoenberg’s passionate, chilling blue.

"L’autoportrait bleu calls to mind fine lacework, all fancy stitching, a delicate succession of interconnected loops. Nothing but beautiful work here. In this devilishly virtuosic text, which also evokes contrapuntal music, Noémi Lefebvre writes like a genuine composer. It’s rare to find a writer successfully able to lend a musical shape to their text. Lefebvre has taken up the challenge in this astonishing, vertiginous account." -Le Figaro littéraire

Noémi Lefebvre is the author of three novels, all of which have garnered intense critical success in France: her debut novel L’Autoportrait bleu (2009), L’état des sentiments à l’âge adulte (2012) and L’enfance politique (2015). She is a regular contributor to the respected French investigative website Médiapart and to the bilingual French-German review La mer gelée.

Sophie Lewis is a literary editor and translator from French and Portuguese into English. In 2017 she was commended for the Scott Moncrieff Prize for her translation of Héloïse Is Bald by Émilie de Turkheim.


Tickets cost £5 and include a glass of wine and £4 off purchases made on the night.