Apr 11, 2017
Elena Lappin’s life as a multiple emigré could be described as ‘five languages in search of an author’. Russian, Czech, French, German, Hebrew and English – each language is a link to a different piece of her rich family mosaic. Triggered by the discovery of a biological father she never knew, Lappin's memoir is the story of finding a voice in a language not one’s own, and a meditation on how language runs throughout memory and family history to form identity. She writes: ‘As a writer, I died when my parents decided to emigrate, and I knew it. And then came the miracle of being reborn in English.’ She talks to novelist Elif Shafak about writing in English. Chaired by Lucy Scholes.