Oct 20th, 2019, 02:00 PM

My Brilliant Friend: Our Lives in Feminism

By Sofia Quintero
Image Credit: HBO Promotional
Life Long Friends and Scholars Unite to Talk Feminism and Friendship at AUP

Last night, the American Library in Paris welcomed guests and invited them to engage in conversation with two Columbia University alumni and life long friends. Award-winning author, Nancy K. Miller, and AUP’s President, Celeste Shenck, joined to talk about feminism, friendship and mental health. The panel ran smoothly and effortlessly seeing that both of their research and publications are focused on feminist criticism, women’s writing and feminist literary studies. 

Miller’s latest memoir titled: “My Brilliant Friends: Our Lives in Feminism”, tells a story that explores Miller’s relationships with writers Carolyn Heilbrun, Naomi Schor,and Diane Middlebrook, who besides being her close friends, all died too soon and affected her life greatly. The text touches important themes such as aging, loss, ambition, rivalry, competition and collaboration and these are tied together through friendship and the power of love and connection. 

Image Credit: nancykmiller.com

President Schenck, who met the author during her time studying at Columbia University, opened the discussion by asking Miller what compelled her to write this portrait of three friendships. She gave an eloquent answer, emphasizing on how these friendships were connected through love and feminist spirits that changed her life for the better. This inspired her to write their stories because “friendships like these have sustained the generation of women whose entrance into male-dominated professions is still reshaping American society today.” 

The 45-minute conversation then engaged in questions regarding Miller’s life as a young woman in New York City, her literary inspirations such as Virginia Woolf and Elena Ferrante and her other writings. The discussion ended by opening the floor to the audience who were able to engage in a Q&A session with the author.  After the panel, the guests were moved from the cozy conference room to enjoy a glass of wine and cocktail finger food. During this session, there was also a time dedicated to the selling of the memoir and a book signing. 

Image Credit: AUP.edu