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Virginie Despentes


French writer Virginie Despentes (Nancy, 1969) is one of modern feminism’s most vigorous voices. Born into a working class family, she worked in a record shop and a peep-show. She was a prostitute and a punk, left home and gave up her studies at 17, fought with her parents, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, was raped, and took as many drugs as she could get her hands on. She has never sought fame, but started to gain a following after her first novel, Baise-moi (1993, Florent Massot; made into a film that she directed in 2000, and published in English by Grove Press in 2003 with the title Rape Me), and it hasn’t stopped growing. Her success has been consolidated by King Kong Theory (Melusina, 2007), to be published here by L’Altra Editorial in January 2018, and the Vernon Subutex trilogy, now completed for Penguin Random House, who also published the last volume next month. Despite the awards and the fêting, Despentes hasn’t rested on her laurels or become or a spokesperson for power: in many ways, she is still the uncompromising “punk whore” of her riotous younger years.

Bio written by Miqui Otero, co-director of Primera Persona festival.

Update: 7 December 2017


Has participated in

Primera Persona 2018

Autobiographic live sessions: stand-up comedy, pop music, theatre and narrative