CoastLine: Lauren Collins On Language, The Gender Pay Gap, And The Coup D'Etat Of 1898

Aug 22, 2018

Lauren Collins has investigated the precise number of roses that go into a bottle of Chanel No. 5.  More recently, she covered the gender pay discrepancy scandal that has rocked the BBC and spurred new questions around salary secrecy and reporting requirements in the UK, Iceland, and other parts of the world. 

As a staff writer for The New Yorker, Lauren Collins lives in Europe with her French husband and two children.  It was the evolution of her relationship with Olivier – two people with two different mother tongues – that became the focus of her book, When In French:  Love In A Second Language.  The New York Times named it as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2016.

The book is more than a chronicle of an international love story.  It takes a deep etymological dive framed against her sometimes clumsy, often belly-laugh-inducing anecdotes about navigating Switzerland, a country she finds surprisingly restrained, and her new relationship with Olivier’s very French family.

Collins divides her book into seven parts, all named for grammatical tenses.  The final chapter, The Future (or Le Futur), explores her dawning realization that she will continue this complex language journey with her newborn daughter.

We are talking about this on CoastLine because Lauren Collins also happens to be a native Wilmingtonian who graduated from New Hanover High School.

She joins us now.