Lost Fanon: Play Reading and Q&A

Friday 17 November, 7.00 – 8.30pm

Autograph ABP

London, UK

Event, £3

Join us for a stripped-back reading of excerpts from Frantz Fanon’s ‘missing plays’ L’Œil se Noie and Les Mains Parallèles (1949).

These extraordinary plays were believed to be lost until they were published in their original French form in 2015. This event will act as a preview to their very first publication in the English language, as part of a 700-page critical edition of Fanon’s Writings on Alienation and Freedom, by Jean Khalfa and Robert Young, to be published by Bloomsbury in early 2018. *

Many of the themes in The Drowning Eye and The Parallel Hands (1949) anticipate Fanon’s psychiatric works and his well-known books Black Skin White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961). Working through existentialist and phenomenological preoccupations with consciousness, identity and political will, these texts are themselves remarkable as gripping dramatic works. They mark the previously inaccessible and seemingly enigmatic beginnings of Fanon’s career as a writer and as the 20th Century’s pre-eminent thinker on the psychopathology of colonization. Here can be read the complex genesis of Fanon’s thought as a foundational influence in anti-colonialist theory, civil rights and post-colonial studies.

In his introduction to Fanon’s theatre within this edition, Robert Young writes that the plays are ‘best described as philosophical dramatizations: they are primarily plays of ideas not of character [however] they come across as “choses vécues”, intensely physical, full of affect with the sensations of the trembling, dispersed body emphasized as much as that of the psyche and indeed often indistinguishable from it’.

The preview will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with Jean Khalfa, Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge and Senior Research Fellow of the British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust for the Fanon project, Felicity Bromley-Hall, event curator and director and a third speaker TBC. The session will focus on this idea of the ‘trembling’ psyche: the ‘risk of madness’ that may be sought, expressed or understood through language – especially if the body that produces that language exists at odds with, or ‘dispersed’ from the society in which it exists.  

* In addition to this dramatic work this volume contains all of Fanon’s psychiatric work and many so far unpublished political texts and letters. These texts were first published in French in Écrits sur l’Aliénation et la Liberté, textes réunis, introduits et présentés par Jean Khalfa et Robert Young, La Découverte, 2015.


Jean Khalfa is a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge and a Senior Research Fellow of the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust for the Fanon project. Khalfa specialises in history of philosophy, modern literature (in particular contemporary poetry and writing in French from North Africa and the Caribbean), aesthetics and anthropology. He has recently published articles on Pascal, Rousseau, Deleuze, Sartre, Fanon, Césaire, St John Perse, Glissant, Michaux, Cavaillès, Maccheroni, Roche, on typographic forms and on the relationship between contemporary poetry and the image. Khalfa is currently working on a book on Fanon's Les Damnés de la terre (for Routledge) and a study of Foucault on insanity, and his edition of Fanon's collected writings, Écrits sur l'aliénation et la liberté (Jean Khalfa and Robert Young, ed., La Découverte, 2015 and Hibr, Algiers, 2015) will be published for the first time in the English language by Bloomsbury in 2018. 

Felicity Bromley-Hall is a creative practitioner working across a variety of platforms including film, theatre, sound and the visual and written arts, and was the one of two actors to be the first to perform excerpts of Fanon’s plays in the English Language (Nottingham Contemporary). Felicity has recently worked in the field of adaptation to create dialogues between various ‘types’ of art within one singular form – showcasing how that new form can then be used to demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of society and the potential for conversation and social progression between different people within it. Her multi-modal comic book Sonny’s Letter – an adaptation of Linton Kwesi-Johnson’s poetry – was selected for exhibition at a ‘Teaching Comics’ Symposium in Brighton, 2016, whilst her piece of online theatre #theyaresilent (Adapting the Nation: Exploring identity and nationality through social media performance) was exhibited at The English Showcase in Nottingham. She has also recently worked with actress and writer, Thea Gajic, on her critically-acclaimed short films The Importance of Skin and as Assistant Director of RUN, which went on to win the Sundance Ignite ‘What’s Next’ Award with Sundance Film Festival and the ‘New Talent’ Award at BFI Future Film Festival 2017. Felicity is currently working at New Art Exchange in Nottingham and you can now see her in BBC Newsbeat’s documentary The Joy of Memes.

Third speaker TBC

About the event

This event will be seated, and take place in the Gallery 1

Our Events

Autograph ABP's events are very popular, and often sell out quickly. We recommend booking a ticket in advance to avoid dissapointment.

To find out first about upcoming events, join our events announcements on our mailing list >



Autograph ABP
Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA

View on Google Maps >

The entrance is on the side of the building. We are fully accessible.

We are located in the heart of Shoreditch, a short walk from Old Street, Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations.
Buses: 26, 43, 48, 55, 67, 149, 205, 242 and 271