Book launch of the first English-language translation of Vitalis Danon’s Ninette of Sin Street. Originally published in Tunis in 1938, this novella is Danon’s best-known work, and one of the first Tunisian fictions written in French. Ninette is an unlikely protagonist; compelled by poverty to work as a prostitute, she dreams of a better life and an education for her son. Plucky and street-wise, she enrolls her son in the local school. In Danon’s story, Ninette narrates her hard scrabble life to the headmaster of her son’s school, a monologue that is funny, poignant, and subtly critical of the status quo. The book’s editors will participate in a lively conversation about this historic work, its place within global and North African literature, and the history of Tunisian Jewry.

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Ninette of Sin Street



Sarah Abrevaya Stein is Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA. Her recent books include Extraterritorial Dreams: European Citizenship, Sephardi Jews, and the Ottoman Twentieth Century (2016), Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (2014), and Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (2014).

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Lia Brozgal is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA. She is the author of Against Autobiography: Albert Memmi and the Production of Theory (2013) and co-editor of Being Contemporary: French Literature, Culture and Politics Today (2016). Her work has been recognized by the American Council of Learned Societies, the University of California Presidential Grants, and the Camargo Foundation.

Moderator: Todd Presner

Discussant: Alma Heckman (UCSC)

Sponsored by the
UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

Cosponsored by the
UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies
UCLA Department of History