September 18, 2013

Le livre sur les quais - 6th-8th September 2013

As you may have noticed, I have not been very active on my blog recently. Now that I am back, I will however try and catch up and publish all the posts I have been thinking about during the holiday... I spent (as usual) an amazing summer in the English countryside and, to be honest, I was not very motivated to fly back. Fortunately, I had something to look forward to... Le livre sur les quais.

'Le livre sur les quais', what is it ?

Book fairs are common and some of them are really popular. 'Le livre sur les quais' is not one of the biggest festivals, nor one of the most visited ones, but it has things that others do not have. It was created in 2010 and takes place every year in Switzerland, in the lovely town of Morges, right by Lake Geneva.

 Literary Cruise Geneva-Nyon

Authors & Events

During four days, various events are organised. Of course, books are sold, visitors are given the opportunity to meet more than 300 authors and discover new releases, but every year offers new surprises and exciting events. Although works by French-speaking authors are at the heart of the festival, the intercultural image of Switzerland will not be left out as a wide range of activities are proposed in English. Translators were also present, as well as authors writing in German, Italian or even Russian; an international blend where books are everybody’s main focus.

2013 was a year of literary cruises, of Tatiana de Rosnay as Honorary President, of crime books cycling tours, of literary breakfasts... There were authors and publishers, but also film directors and illustrators. There were books, but also films, photographs, readings, stage performances, discussions, interviews, writing workshops and various games or contests for children and teenagers. Something for everyone to be satisfied!

My Day at the Fair

I had already been twice, but this year was definitely the best. The reason? Of course, the program becomes more interesting and diverse each year, the festival bigger, but having Tatiana de Rosnay come was just amazing! As soon as I learned that she would be there, I wrote to my blog partner and friend, Patty, and we decided to go together... The most difficult was not to buy Tatiana de Rosnay’s new novel À l’encre russe (Russian Ink) before, but being abroad the whole year abroad helped!

Literary Cruise: “Personnages romanesques”

Another difficulty was to decide on our program. Everything seemed so interesting that we had to make a choice. So we went on Sunday and started in Geneva with a literary cruise: “Personnages romanesques” with Tatiana de Rosnay, Claro and Andreï Kourkov. As it was rather early and not actually in Morges, there were few people. It was very interesting to hear the authors speak about their understanding of fictional characters. They also explained how they dealt with them during the writing process and talked about their projects.

Literary Cruise: “Traduire, trahir ou transposer”

We got off the boat in Nyon and caught a train to Morges. After having a quick look around and eating lunch, we decided to go on another literary cruise. Of course, given my studying, I was very interested by the theme. Two authors were there, Claro – again – and Douglas Kennedy, as well as a translator, Pedro Jimenez Morras. They talked about translation, of course, but also more generally about their work, the difference between writing and translating. It was interesting to compare the vision of one author whose books have been translated in many languages (Douglas Kennedy), one translator (Pedro Jimenez Morras) and one author and translator (Claro). It was another good cruise, but I would have liked to learn more details about the actual process of translating rather than having the debate drifting into the authors’ works.

The authors and the marquee

After that, it started to rain and so we decided to walk round the marquee. It was packed of people and many were queuing in order to get their signed copies. So we worked our way round the full tables of books. We stopped by Andreï Kourkov, where Patty bought Les Pingouins n’ont jamais froid (Penguin Lost).Then came the moment I had been waiting for so long. We joined the very long queue in from of Tatiana de Rosnay and both took À l’encre russe. I also finally found the English version of Sarah’s Key (which I still have not read). On our way out, I stopped to have a few words by Jenny Sigot-Müller, the author of Entre deux voix, which I had enjoyed... and of course, speaking with an author/interpreter who studied in the same university as me was something I was not going to miss.

We both had a lovely time... and did not spend as much as we had feared! If you have the opportunity to come to this book fair, I strongly recommend it to you, as it is probably one of my favourite literary events!

See you there in 2014!

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