Celebrating Irène Némirovsky

Denise Epstein, Olivier Philipponnat, Sandra Smith, Euan Cameron

07/03/2010 1:30 pm

The dramatic discovery and publication of Suite Française, a manuscript her two daughters had carried around with them unaware of its value, made Irène Némirovsky famous worldwide and a great writer cut down in her prime by the Nazis. Since then, almost her novels have been made available to British readers. The latest, Dogs and Wolves, tells the poignant story of a young woman moving from Kiev to Paris and shows the contrast between the shtetl environment and the privileged life led by rich Jews.

Némirovsky’s biographer, Olivier Philipponnat, spoke about the discoveries he made during his research and brings her life and work together. He was joined by her daughter, Denise Epstein, and her translator, Sandra Smith.

Denise Epstein

Denise Epstein was only 13 when her mother, Irène Némirovsky , was deported to Auschwitz, leaving her and her sister a battered suitcase with the unfinished manuscript of Suite Française. Its publication, 60 years’ later, was a publishing sensation and led to the rediscovery of a great author.

Olivier Philipponnat

Olivier Philipponnat was formerly a music critic. With Patrick Lienhart, he has written an acclaimed biography of Irène Némirovsky , for which they have had unprecedented access to unpublished letters, notebooks and archives.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith is the award-winning translator of all Irène Némirovsky ’s works to appear in English. She is a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge where she teaches French Literature and Translation.

Euan Cameron

Euan Cameron has been a book publisher for most of his working life and is now an editor and translator. His many translations from French include biographies of Marcel Proust and Irène Némirovsky.