Freedom Lecture: Didier Eribon

Programme Editor
Child of a working-class family and the first of them to enter higher education, Didier Eribon in his work often refers to the complicated relationship with his roots and family. In one of his books, Retour à Reims, he grasps the discrepancy between his past and present life in different social classes and the (in)compatibility of these parts of his identity. During the Freedom Lecture, Eribon will share his views on the constellation of social class, sexual identity and freedom.

France has a long history of social class distinction, the aftermath of which still to a large degree determines one’s freedom and opportunities. Didier Eribon fits in the wider tradition of prominent French intellectuals who address this theme (semi) autobiographically, like Annie Ernaux, Pierre Bourdieu and, more recently, Édouard Louis.

About the speakers

Fien Veldman – is the 2021 recipient of the Joost Zwagerman Essay Prize for her essay ‘Not really making it’, about growing up in a working-class neighbourhood in Leeuwarden. In 2018, she was awarded the Elise Mathilde Essay Award for her essay ‘Borders, doors and eyes open’. Her debut novel Xerox (Atlas Contact) was published in April, and will be published in Germany, the UK and the US in 2024.

Abdel Daoudi – Since 2021 he has been one of the permanent directors of Toneelschuur Producties. For his first directorial effort, he chose Antigone, adapted by Abdelkader Benali. In the 2022–2023 season, Abdel will direct ‘History of Violence’ based on the autobiographical novel of Edouard Louis.

About the Freedom Lecture

Freedom is something that we in the Netherlands typically take for granted. Four times a year, De Balie invites someone who knows from personal experience what it means not to be free. We want to share their stories, spread their message, and learn from their struggle. In the series, De Balie has welcomed freedom fighters like Egyptian writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, and Hungarian journalist Veronika Munk.


Fien VeldmanLiterary scholar, journalist, and writer
Abdel DaoudiDirector
Mirthe LabreeActress

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