Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo

A conversation with Philippe Lançon

Photo of author Philippe Lançon

Hear from Philippe Lançon, a writer and journalist at Libération and contributor to satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo. He will discuss his new book, Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo, with professor of French and fellow writer Abdourahman Waberi.

About the book:

Paris, January 7, 2015: Two terrorists claiming allegiance to ISIS attack the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The event causes untold pain to the victims and their families, prompting a global solidarity movement and igniting a fierce debate over press freedoms and the role of satire today. Philippe Lançon, a journalist, author and weekly contributor to Charlie Hebdo is gravely wounded in the attack. This intense life experience upends his relationship to the world, to writing, to reading, to love and to friendship. As he attempts to reconstruct his life on the page, Lançon rereads Proust, Thomas Mann, Kafka and others in search of guidance. It is a year before he can return to writing, a year in which he learns to work through his experiences and their aftermath.

Disturbance is not an essay on terrorism, nor is it a witness’s account of Charlie Hebdo. The attack and what followed are part of Lançon’s narrative which, instead, touches upon the universal. It is an honest, intimate account of a man seeking to put his life back together after it has been torn apart.

Disturbance is a book about survival, resilience and reconstruction. It's about transformation and one man’s shifting relationship with time, writing, journalism, truth and even his own body.


Presented by The Romance, German & Slavic Languages and Literatures Department (RGSLL) with donations provided by RGSLL, CCAS, SMPA, ESIA, IERES, and the Department of History.

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