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Author of Kafka’s Last Love to appear at the Shakespeare & Company-Paris Literary and Arts Festival 2003

5/1/2003: (San Diego, CA) - Kathi Diamant, author of the newly released biography of Dora Diamant, Kafka’s Last Love, will join an impressive lineup of acclaimed authors and rising stars, poets, artists and academics, who will be celebrating the literary heritage of Paris, at the Shakespeare and Company Literary and Arts Festival in Paris, France, June 9 - 16, 2003.

Diamant, a resident of San Diego Calif., will be discussing her first book, a biography of Dora Diamant (no known relation), the mysterious woman at the side of literary giant Franz Kafka during the last year of his life, on Saturday, June 14, at the famed Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare and Company-Paris, located in the heart of the 5th arrondissement. Diamant, director of the Kafka Project at San Diego State University, will share her experiences retracing Dora’s life throughout Europe, Israel, the USSR and the UK, and will feature Dora’s meeting with famed actor/director Jean-Louis Barrault in Paris in 1950.

Amidst the haunts of Ernest Hemmingway, James Joyce, Anais Nin and Henry Miller, the Shakespeare and Company-Paris Literary and Arts Festival will also feature presentations from Jung Chang, the author whose battle for freedom echoes the liberty Paris has historically provided for suppressed writers, who will be reading from her works. Pulitzer Prize-winner C K Williams will be reading his poetry, along with acclaimed London poet Mark Ford.

Published in April 2003, Dora Diamant’s first biography is receiving national attention as a gripping literary detective story, “a demanding and heroic act of literary sleuthing to piece together Dora’s remarkable story ” [Booklist] and “a welcome, well-written addition to Kafka studies, valuable of its portrayal of the writer as a human being, not a monument.” [Kirkus Reviews] Kafka’s Last Love is the result of two decades of in-depth personal research, and solves many of the mysteries of Dora’s previously unknown life with original sources and interviews, files from Nazi and Comintern archives and Dora’s own unpublished letters and diaries.

Kafka’s Last Love paints a portrait “far different from a grim, inaccessible genius” according the The New York Times, and illuminates the remarkable relationship between the writer and the Polish Hasidic woman who provided the final happy chapter of his life. "Kathi's captivating account of their brief but intense time together illuminates both Kafka's genius and Dora's joie de vivre, and serves as prelude to the traumas Dora faced after Kafka's death." –Booklist (More reviews below)

The original Shakespeare and Company was opened at 12-rue de l'Odeon, Paris, in 1921 by Sylvia Beach, a young woman from New England. For twenty years it thrived, and it was from here that Europe first heard of the writings by new American talent, like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Throughout the 1920s literati frequented her shop: George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Paul Valèry, André Gide, James Joyce.

The Shakespeare and Company of today is located at 37-rue de la Bucherie, Paris, on the Left Bank. Owner George Whitman, another east coast American bibliophile, opened the bookstore in 1951, as Le Mistral. Then in 1964, having secured Sylvia Beach's agreement, Whitman resurrected the Shakespeare and Company name, to honor and continue the ethos and traditions of the former famous bookshop.

The festival begins noon on Monday, June 9, with homage to those whose presence still inhabits the Left Bank, including writers who frequented Sylvia Beach’s original store on rue de l’Odeon; Joyce, Hemingway, Andre Gide, Jean Cocteau, Ezra Pound, Andre Breton and many others.

The festival will finish on 'Bloomsday', turning full circle. Writers, academics, actors and musicians will celebrate and examine Joyce's role in transforming 20th century literature, as well as Sylvia Beach's own role in publishing Ulysses. The Shakespeare and Company festival will be presented in three parts: In the first part, the Lost Generation of the 1920s, a selection of writers, academics and artists will celebrate the 'Lost Generation' who gathered around Sylvia Beach's famed bookshop during the 1920s. The 'Beat Generation' will follow on June 11 and 12 with poetry readings, new plays and jazz will recreate the left bank atmosphere around George Whitman's bookstore in the 50s and 60s. The third part looks at writers of today, both established and rising.

Kathi Diamant will be available for interviews in Paris on June 9-16. For more information on the festival contact shakespeareandco@paris.com or visit www.shakespeareco.org. Shakespeare and Co is located at 37, rue de la Bucherie, 75005, Paris, Tel: 0033(0) 1 43 26 96 50