La Vie Creative

Ep 162: Bestselling Author Harriet Welty Rochefort

November 10, 2021 Krystal Kenney Episode 162
La Vie Creative
Ep 162: Bestselling Author Harriet Welty Rochefort
Show Notes

Harriet Welty Rochefort grew up and was educated in the Midwest (B.A. University
of Michigan, Ann Arbor and M.S.J. Northwestern Medill School of Journalism). A
French-American dual citizen, she has lived in France since 1973 with her French
husband Philippe. They have 3 sons, Nicolas, a neurologist in Marseilles, Benjamin,
a computer specialist in Montreal, David, an editor and novelist (chez Gallimard NRF)
in Paris, and 6 grandchildren.
An author, Harriet has written three humorous but informative books about her life in
France. and the cultural differences she has perceived as an American
« embedded » in France.

Her bestselling account of her first impressions of France, French Toast: An
American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French, remained in
hardcover for 11 years, appearing in paperback in 2010. Diane Johnson, the
bestselling author of Le Divorce, called French Toast « a classic » and « the gold
standard of books about the French ».
It was followed by French Fried: The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris, a
personal account of French wining and dining viewed from her mother-in-law’s
kitchen and interviews with leading French food and wine experts.

Her third book, Joie de Vivre (2012), delves into the French penchant for enjoying life
with style and panache. Publisher’s Weekly wrote that « Rochefort...is a foreign
observer of what it means to be French and, with wit and a unique insight, offers
advice on loving life the way her adopted country does. »

Published by St. Martin’s Press, all three of Harriet’s books about French manners
and mores have been translated into Chinese. A French version of French Toast
was published by Editions Ramsay in 2005

Inspired by true events that took place in the seething cauldron of the southwest of
France three months before the D-Day victory and the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane,
Harriet’s first novel, Final Transgression: One Woman’s Tragic Destiny in War-torn
France, was published in May 2020. In his endorsement of the novel, eminent
historian Robert O. Paxton, author of Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order calls it
“historically well-grounded” and a “vigorous and compelling tale.”
Harriet is a member of several professional writers’ organizations. They include PEN,
The Authors Guild, and the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris where she
served on the board for many years.

A freelance journalist, Harriet has written scores of articles on French business,
culture, travel and lifestyle for leading magazines and newspapers, including the
International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times), The Atlanta
Journal and Constitution, Huffington Post, and Time magazine where she worked as
a reporter in the Paris bureau for more than ten years. For Time, she covered many
different stories including the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyons, the arrival of Disneyland
near Paris and the controversy over the building of the Pei Pyramid in the courtyard
of the Louvre.

As a teacher and speaker, Harriet taught a reporting course in the international
program of the Ecole de Journalisme of the renowned Institut d’Etudes Politiques de
Paris (Sciences Po) from 2007 to 2011. She regularly gives lively lectures on France
and French-American cultural differences to associations, travel groups, and
university programs, such as the Sweet Briar Year Abroad, Smith/ParisTech Telecom
and the International Media Seminar at the American University in Paris where she is
invited each year as the keynote speaker. She has spoken about her books at many
venues in the U.S. and in France, including the American Library in Paris Evenings

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