"Lauren Elkin is one of our most valuable critical thinkers - the Susan Sontag of her generation."
Lauren Elkin is a writer and translator, most recently the author of No. 91/92: a diary of a year on the bus and the UK translator of Simone de Beauvoir's previously unpublished novel The Inseparables.
Flâneuse: Women Walk the City was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a Notable Books of 2017, a Radio 4 Book of the Week, and a best book of 2016 by the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New Statesman, and the Observer. It is being translated into nine languages.
Her next book, Art Monsters: On Beauty and Excess, will argue for an aesthetics of monstrosity uniting the work of feminist artists and writers over the last century (Chatto & Windus/FSG). This work has been supported by a Silvers grant from the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, and rights have sold in several territories.
She is currently writing a biography of Gertrude Stein for Yale University Press, and a novel, Scaffolding, which is under contract with Chatto & Windus.
Her writing on books, art, and culture have appeared in a variety of publications including the London Review of Books, the New York Times, Granta, Harper’s, Le Monde, the Times Literary Supplement, Les Inrockuptibles, and Frieze, and her essay "This is the Beginning of Writing," published in the Sewanee Review, was awarded notable distinction in the Best American Essays of 2019, edited by Rebecca Solnit.
She holds a PhD in English from the City University of New York/Université de Paris, and an M.Phil in French from the Sorbonne, and has taught literature and creative writing at New York University, the American University of Paris, the University of Liverpool, and the Université de Paris-Denis Diderot.
Before becoming a writer, Lauren worked as an actor, a singer, a piano accompanist, an assistant at a literary agency, a copywriter at a Korean B2B telecommunications company, a barista, an office temp, a birthday party entertainer at Chuck E. Cheese, and an assistant at a public relations company, where Jennifer Lopez’s publicist once threw a phone at her head.
Originally from New York, she moved to Paris in 1999, and became a citizen in 2015. She is currently based in London, where she lives with her partner and son.
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illustration by Konstantin Kakanias