Susan Rubin Suleiman: An Immigrant Girlhood

Kings Place, London

A photograph with faint writing on the back. A traveling chess set. A silver pin.

In Daughter of History: Traces of an Immigrant Girlhood, Harvard professor Susan Rubin Suleiman uses such everyday objects and the memories they evoke to tell the story of her early life as a Holocaust refugee, aged five when the Nazis marched into Budapest, and then, after the Communist Party took over Hungary, as an American immigrant, via Austria, France and Haiti. Probing the intergenerational complexities of immigrant families and the inevitability of loss, she shows how historical events shape our private lives.

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Speaker biography

Susan Rubin Suleiman

Susan Rubin Suleiman is a professor emerita of French and comparative literature at Harvard University. Her many books include The Némirovsky Question (2016) and a previous memoir, Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook (1996). She lives in Chevy Chase, MD.

Chair biography

Bidisha Mamata

Bidisha is a broadcaster, journalist and film-maker. Her latest publication is The Future of Serious Art (Nov 2020) and her latest film series, Aurora, launched in 2020 and is ongoing. Bidisha specialises in international human rights, social justice and the arts and offers political analysis and cultural diplomacy tying these interests together. She writes for the main UK broadsheets and presents and commentates heavily for BBC TV and radio, ITN, CNN, ViacomCBS and Sky News. Her fifth book, Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London (2015), is based on her outreach work in UK prisons, refugee charities and detention centres. Her first short film, An Impossible Poison, received its London premier in March 2018. It has been highly acclaimed and selected for numerous international film festivals.

Image © Suki Dhanda

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