Sylvia Beach Whitman

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Sylvia Whitman
Born April 1, 1981 (1981-04) (age 36)
Residence Paris, France
Alma mater University College London
Occupation Proprietress
Parent(s) George Whitman

Sylvia Whitman (April 1, 1981[1]) is the proprietor of the Shakespeare and Company in Paris, the celebrated bohemian bookstore known for welcoming readers and writers from around the world.

She is the daughter of the shop's founder, the late George Whitman.

Biography[edit]

Sylvia Whitman is the only child of George Whitman, who founded the Shakespeare and Company bookstore located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie. She was named for Sylvia Beach, who opened the original Shakespeare and Company (1919–1941), the legendary Paris haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Djuna Barnes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce, among others.[2][3][4]

Sylvia Whitman began co-managing Shakespeare and Company with her father in 2003 at age 22.[5] She continues to run it today with her partner, David Delannet, in the same manner her father had, allowing young writers to live in the bookstore in exchange for helping out around the shop, agreeing to read a book a day, and writing a one-page autobiography for the shop's archives. An estimated 30,000 people have stayed at the shop.[6]

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, 2011

In 2003, Whitman founded a biennial literary festival, FestivalandCo, which has hosted such writers as Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Jeanette Winterson, Jung Chang, and Marjane Satrapi.[7]

In 2010, Shakespeare and Company launched The Paris Literary Prize for unpublished novellas, with a 10,000 euro prize donated by the de Groot Foundation. The winner of the first competition was Rosa Rankin-Gee, whose entry was subsequently published by Virago.[8]

Partnering with Bob’s Bake Shop, Sylvia Whitman and David Delannet opened a café in 2015, located next door to the shop in what had been an abandoned garage since 1981. The Shakespeare and Company Café serves primarily vegetarian food, with vegan and gluten-free options.[9]

In 2016, the bookstore published its own history in a book titled Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart (edited by Krista Halverson), which features an epilogue by Sylvia Whitman, as well as a foreword by Jeanette Winterson.[10]

Media appearances[edit]

Sylvia Whitman was featured in a 2012 episode of Sundance Beginnings, directed by Chiara Clemente.

Whitman appeared on the Paris episodes of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which aired the week of August 1, 2011.

She featured in the 2014 BBC television documentary Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities. episode 2. Paris 1928 by Dr James Fox.

Whitman appears in an episode of the BBC television series Imagine, first broadcast in 2012 'Jeanette Winterson:My Monster and me'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ A. Craig Copetas (June 7, 2009). "Hemingway's Hangout Spruces Up to Defy Amazon". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  2. ^ Jo Lennan. "Paris: 10 Things to Do — 4. Shakespeare and Company Bookshop". TIME. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  3. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  4. ^ Leah Hyslop (9 Nov 2012). "Turning the page at Shakespeare and Company". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  5. ^ "The "Found Generation" -- The New Literary Paris Legends", International Living, August 11, 2004
  6. ^ Halverson, Krista (2016). Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart. Paris, France: Shakespeare and Company. p. 18. ISBN 979-1-09-610100-9. 
  7. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  8. ^ Halverson, Krista (2016). Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart. Paris, France: Shakespeare and Company Paris. p. 364. ISBN 979-1-09-610100-9. 
  9. ^ "New York Times Magazine". 
  10. ^ Halverson, Krista (2016). Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart. Paris, France: Shakespeare and Company Paris. ISBN 979-1-09-610100-9. 

External links[edit]