Harriet Welty Rochefort Feb 2021
Harriet Welty Rochefort is an author, speaker, freelance journalist, former professor of journalism at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and longtime resident of France. She has written three light-hearted, informative books on the French and their ways—French Toast, French Fried, and Joie de Vivre, all published by St. Martin’s Press. Her latest book, Final Transgression, published in 2020, is a historical novel that takes place in Paris and southwest France during World War II which has garnered high praise from eminent U.S. historian Robert Paxton, among others.
We were delighted to welcome Harriet to Après-Midi on Zoom with over 100 participants from around the world to speak about her new novel, Final Transgression, a book that digressed from her usual cultural crossings books.
A French-American dual citizen, Harriet lives with husband Philippe in the trendy east of Paris in a garden apartment with a tiny lawn just big enough to mow and a fig tree that has miraculously defied both Paris weather and pollution. She opened by telling her story, starting with her Iowan roots and how she met Philippe at Le Select, a popular café in the Montparnasse district. Keeping on topic, she presented a PowerPoint presentation describing what France was like during the German occupation—a fascinating history the French hope never to repeat.
This particular story is about a French woman in Périgourd, who just wants to have a normal life amidst the chaos of war— gets caught up in the battle to her demise in spite of her efforts to stay neutral. It’s not a tale you come across often, but it’s based on a true story as part of Harriet’s husband, Philippe’s, family history. You’ll find it fascinating—a real page-turner.
Be sure to read the book and for those of you who missed the event, or if you want a replay, all is not lost. You can watch it in its entirety here. Visit Harriet’s website for more information about Harriet Welty Rochefort and Final Transgression.