> Skip to content
  • Published: 14 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781609809485
  • Imprint: Seven Stories Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $21.99

Happening



A haunting meditation on memory and trauma by the award-winning French memoirist

WINNER OF THE 2022 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

"Happening recounts what it was like to be a young woman whose life changed — and world ominously narrowed — in 1963 with an unwanted pregnancy. . . . It feels urgently of the moment."
--The New York Times

In 1963, Annie Ernaux, 23 and unattached, realizes she is pregnant. Shame arises in her like a plague: Understanding that her pregnancy will mark her and her family as social failures, she knows she cannot keep that child.

This is the story, written forty years later, of a trauma Ernaux never overcame. In a France where abortion was illegal, she attempted, in vain, to self-administer the abortion with a knitting needle. Fearful and desperate, she finally located an abortionist, and ends up in a hospital emergency ward where she nearly dies.

In Happening, Ernaux sifts through her memories and her journal entries dating from those days. Clearly, cleanly, she gleans the meanings of her experience.

Now an award-winning film by Audrey Diwan
Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival
Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival

  • Published: 14 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781609809485
  • Imprint: Seven Stories Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $21.99

Also by Annie Ernaux

See all

Praise for Happening

"An important, resonant work." --Publishers Weekly
"Annie Ernaux writes short, spare autobiographical books that are quickly dispensed with and difficult to forget. With the dispassion and efficiency of a military strategist, she ambushes her past, prying it from its refuge in nostalgia and oblivion and holding it up naked for all to see . . . Her struggle as a writer to represent her past echoes her struggle as a young woman to resolve her predicament and adds to the raw power of her book." --New York Times
"Ernaux speaks the truth about which women usually keep silent . . . [Happening is] shameless, but overwhelming in its honesty." --Les Echos
"[Ernaux's] style is dense and purified. The story she tells loses its strictly intimate character and becomes the echo of an age." --Télérama