Story Behind the Story: The Artichoke Dinner

The Artichoke Dinner was one of the first stories I wrote. It came to me one night after I had had dinner with my children, who were all adults by then. I thought of my own childhood and adolescence, that time I had been forced to eat the artichoke, the compelling feeling I experienced then that I had to resist it, that it was a matter of life and death for me. I had to write about it. In the first draft, I poured down all my fear, my rage, unrefined, overwhelming. And then I worked on the text again and again, so as to make it bare and raw, minimal.

After that, I wrote more stories about my life, always starting with a striking episode, first letting out on the paper all the primal crude feelings and then skinning the text until only the literary essentials were left.

The Artichoke Dinner might become the title story of my collection.

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“The Artichoke Dinner”

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About Annie De Benedictis

I am 60 years old and I live in The Hague, in the Netherlands. I work for the International Criminal Court. I have three children who are adults now. I am French but write my stories in English. I discovered that using a language that is not my native language gives me a great freedom of expression, the necessary distance from the moments of my life that I picture in my stories to make them become pieces of fiction.