Stitches, Secrets, Shame with Jazmina Barrera, and Christina MacSweeney

Stitches, secrets, shame: Mexican writer Jazmina Barrera’s first novel, Cross-Stitch, translated into English by Christina MacSweeney, stitches together a coming-of-age story with a feminist history and theory of embroidery. Mila, Citlali, and Dalia, childhood friends now college-aged, leave Mexico City for the London of The Clash and the Paris of Gustave Courbet. They anticipate the bookstores, cafés, and crushes, but not the realization that they are steadily, inevitably growing apart.

That feels like forever ago. Mila, now a writer and a new mother, has just published a book on needlecraft, an art form long dismissed as “women’s work.” After hearing that her old friend Citlali has drowned, Mila begins to reminisce about their years together for the first time since becoming a wife and mother. What has come of all the nights the three friends spent embroidering together in silence? Join Barrera, MacSweeney, and Leanne Shapton for a conversation about travel, art, identity, and translation.

This is a hybrid event. Jazmina Barrera and Leanne Shapton will join in person at The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn (1:30pm ET), with Christina MacSweeney, remotely joining from Norwich. A live remote viewing will be held at Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco (10:30am PT). You can also livestream this event worldwide.

In-person tickets to The Center for Fiction may include an optional lunch at $17. 

  • Lunch Option A: Ham sandwich with brie, arugula, and house-made spiced honey mustard.
  • Lunch Option B: Vegan chickpea salad sandwich.

Both options are served with an apple, a bag of salted potato chips, and a soft drink of choice.

Jazmina Barrera’s books have been published in nine countries and translated to English, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, and French. Her book Cuerpo extraño (Foreign Body) was awarded the Latin American Voices prize by Literal Publishing, and On Lighthouses was chosen for the Indie Next list by IndieBound. Linea Nigra was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Autobiography Prize, CANIEM’s Book of the Year award, and the Amazon Primera Novela (First Novel) Award. She is editor and co-founder of Ediciones Antílope. She lives in Mexico City.

Christina MacSweeney´s work has been recognized in a number of important awards, and her translation of Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth was awarded the Valle Inclán Translation Prize and also shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award. Her most recent translations include works by Daniel Saldaña París, Elvira Navarro, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Julián Herbert, and Karla Suárez.

This event is presented in partnership with The Center for Fiction

Event information

Date: Thursday, November 16th, 2023

Time: 1:30 pm

Venue: The Center for Fiction

Address: 15 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Map and Directions


In Person with Lunch Ticket A: $17.00

In Person with Lunch Ticket B: $17.00

In Person Ticket Only: FREE

Live Stream Only: FREE