June 6, 2017

A WICE Writing Teacher Wins Another International Prize

Jamaican author and journalist Alecia McKenzie has just won a second prize for her first novel, after Commonwealth accolades for her short stories. 
Sweetheart (Trésor in French) has been awarded the 2017 Prix Carbet des Lycéens. It’s a literary competition, judged by French-Caribbean high school students, to highlight the best writing by authors from the entire Caribbean region.
“I was moved and honored that the book was chosen by students, although I’d previously considered it a work for the over-16s,” says Alecia.  “It touches on heavy themes including death and incest which require a certain maturity.  It’s about a Jamaican artist who dies in unclear circumstances, and the reader learns about her life from people who knew her, and who talk about her.”
Through the different narratives, readers learn, among other things, about the life of the artist’s Jewish grandfather. Jamaican-Jewish?  “Yes, there’s a sizable community of people whose ancestors were Jewish in Jamaica. My primary school was near one of the oldest synagogues in the region.”
On the importance of the setting, Alecia says: “This is an essential element of storytelling.  If I didn’t tell the truth about the setting, I would feel I were betraying readers, my country.  How can you write about a place if you don’t know the setting?  It has to be authentic. I try to put that across when teaching my students short-story writing at WICE”

May 12, 2017

Close Up on a WICE Street Photography Course


Meredith © Lauren Gezurian-Amlani
Now’s your chance to snap and chat with WICE photography pro, Meredith Mullins.

In her upcoming 4-session Exploring Course, she’ll take you to some of the most photogenic places in Paris.

Each session begins with essential photo tips in a café of the chosen neighborhood.  Then students are sent out with a choice of assignments that equate to “purposeful wandering.”  Afterwards, they gather in a specially chosen restaurant for a review of their images.  With Meredith’s techniques, you’ll move from selfies to artistic self-expression in no time!

“There’s nothing like the beauty of Paris as a backdrop. As I turn every corner I feel lost in time. I want all my students to be inspired by the city, and communicate through images what they’re thinking or feeling, and what they’re attracted to,” Meredith explains.

“It always amazes me that the members of our group can be wandering the same streets during the same few hours and, yet, the resulting photographs are totally unique. Everyone has a unique style, and sees the quartier a little bit differently.  That is what the art of photography is all about.”
The swan: © Nola Erhardt

“We also have a great heritage in the city,” she continues. “We can’t forget we’re walking in the footsteps of the iconic 20th  century Paris street photographers, such as Cartier-Bresson, Ronis and Doisneau, who famously said, “The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.

Some students might be timid about photographing people, but Meredith helps them get over it.

“People might be the most interesting subjects, so they have to be in the repertoire, and sometimes I give the assignment of finding interesting characters in the streets. But I might also assign the theme of water in its different forms, depth perspective, motion, or lighting techniques. The group choses what to work on before we meet up again to see and discuss the results as a class.”

Rain Reflections: © Eva Ferziger 

April 30, 2017

Why Not YOU for the WICE Board of Directors?

Calling all WICE members to step up and volunteer, and why not start at the top? Nominations are under way now for the Board! Join now to help steer us into the future…

There are ten people at the helm, directing such areas as Programs, Marketing, Finance, Volunteers, Facilities, “Upstairs at Duroc,” and the Paris Writers Workshop, as well as governing the organization.

Veronica Pollard is the Board leader in charge of growing and maintaining membership.

In 2013, she had no idea when her plane from New York hit the tarmac in Paris for a dream retirement that she would participate in the French-English conversation groups at WICE and end up on the Board.

“Our WICE members come from countries on six continents, but especially the US, UK, Australia, and of course France. Recently, we have been inviting members to small informal gatherings at the home of WICE President Mary Sipper to get a better understanding of the areas of strength for WICE and what needs improving. Many seem to want us to have a more social presence and offer opportunities for friendship. So that has become part of our vision going forward.”

April 18, 2017

WICE Presents a Screenwriting Workshop with a Hollywood Pro!

WICE is thrilled to present a one-week screenwriting workshop for 12 people this summer with the Emmy Award winning John Jacobsen. This chameleon of every aspect of the American film industry for over thirty years, will teach you the craft of character, dialogue, theme, writing visually, and the wisdom that in this genre, “less is more.” Whether you have the germ of an idea or a finished screenplay, John’s first workshop in Paris is an unmissable opportunity. Sign up now, July is coming soon! (see event details below)

Talking to John quickly reveals his energy, creativity, and empathy, the font of his many successes in screenwriting, directing and film production. An educator, he has founded several university film programs. For the broader public, he hosts the popular PBS program The Artist Toolbox, talking to a pantheon of other master artists on their creative process in the worlds of fashion, film, theater, architecture, design, ballet and more. “What they all have in common,” says John, “is their obsession to perfect their work,” by endless practicing--as he does from 6 to 9 a.m. every day.

March 26, 2017

Do You Speak Wine? Here's an Exclusive WICE Event to Learn How!

This spring, WICE offers members a bouquet of wines! Paris wine expert Hélène Goble will help spare you those awkward moments puzzling over wine lists, and help you choose favorite wines at any budget with confidence.

Hélène’s small and personalized company, “Do You Speak Wine?” operates by word of mouth, but you can join an exclusive WICE wine tasting at her elegant Paris apartment on 27 April. Along with her class on a Lalande de Pomerol (Bordeaux) wine, she will be sharing dinner, and plenty of special tips on French savoir-faire.

Helène grew up with grapes, on a Bordeaux vineyard run by her aristocratic parents. After a stint working in the Paris wine trade, she took up training at London’s prestigious Wine and Spirit Education Trust. She later marketed

March 17, 2017

Hail to the Chef!

Meet WICE Cooking Instructor, Randall Price


Do you dare try a sauce Béarnaise? Do you dream of making a savoury tart adapted from an 18th century recipe? Or a light vegetable medley that will impress your summer guests? There are just a few spots left for three cooking classes this year with WICE cooking instructor, Randall Price, born in Ohio, and now a distinguished chef in the food capital of the world.

His popular cooking lessons for WICE members, full of witty commentary, center on a two-course meal with clear, written recipes. They are in the French tradition of fresh and seasonal ingredients, with some

March 8, 2017

Louvre Islamic Collection: Peace Through Art

While the U.S. struggles with the controversy over the ban on travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries, France provides a source of cross-cultural diplomacy at the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre, the most visited museum in the world.

This initiative was the brainchild of President Jacques Chirac, who vigorously opposed the Iraq invasion, and called for a “dialogue of cultures” to break down misunderstandings between the West and Muslim world with its petroleum rich regions.

The new wing opened in 2012, at a cost of a hundred thousand euros, co-funded by Arab states. Like the glass pyramid, the project came as a shock, thrusting together the medieval Western style and a contemporary design in a powerful frisson. A vast, undulating canopy of steel, glass and perforated aluminium hovers over 3000 works, the best Islamic art in Europe. Technology and art converge in poetry that suggests the rolling dunes of the Middle Eastern landscape, the veils of dances or even a flying carpet!

February 22, 2017

Let me introduce to you one of our first WICE members, Jill.


Jill Bourdais | WICE Board Member | © Meredith Mullins
Jill Bourdais has been a leading member of WICE since its founding in 1978.  Decades on, she is still bringing her ample energy and initiative to the  WICE Board where she has served in many top positions.  Jill has seen this cultural association in the heart of Paris blossom from a small group of American women wanting to get back to work to a diverse expat community of both genders meeting up for high quality continuing education opportunities and new friendships.

WICE was founded by three American women, inspired by the feminist movement in the United States, to help expat women transition to the workplace after their experience as global nomads, homemakers and mothers. “These women had experience organizing community groups as volunteers, hosting events to support their 

January 3, 2017

'FRENCHLATION' SHOWS WAY TO FATHOM FRENCH FILMS

For movie fans who don’t speak French, going to the cinema in Paris can be a limiting experience. Do you stick to films made in English, with French subtitles, or do you brave the screening of a French film, with no English subtitles – hoping you’ll at least get some of the dialogue?

Happily, there’s another choice: you can go to the special events of Lost in Frenchlation – a company that presents recently released French films with English subtitles, and which now has a partnership with WICE.

Matthew Bryan and Manon Kerjean,
the co-founders of Lost in Frenchlation.
At these screenings, spectators not only get to watch the films, but they also have the opportunity to meet other movie-goers in a convivial atmosphere. That’s because Lost in Frenchlation provides an added social component, enabling ex-pats living in Paris to meet over cocktails after the movie.

Started in 2015 by French and Australian friends, Manon Kerjean and Matthew Bryan, the initiative was born from the wish to be able to see the same films together.