By Olivia Snaije
Le MOTif, the Paris regional government’s book and writing “observatory” is launching a French Fellowship program in conjunction with the Salon du Livre, which opens today.
The Paris book fair will run for four, rather than six days, has extended its opening hours and reduced stand prices by 17%. Publishing companies such as Hachette Livre, which had pulled out of the 2010 fair, have returned this year.
In the footsteps of Fellowship programs such as the ones run by the Frankfurt and Jerusalem Book Fairs, le MOTif teamed up with the BIEF (International bureau for French Books) and Sofia, an organization that defends the interests of authors, and invited editors from twelve different countries. The goal is to encourage foreign rights deals between France and the foreign publishing houses.
The chosen editors are from a wide variety of publishing houses ranging from the smaller or younger companies such as David Villanueva’s Barcelona and Madrid-based Demipage or Danish publisher Karsten Nielsen’s C&K Forlag ApS, to Munich-based Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, represented by Günther Opitz, or Sistem & Galata Publishing, the large Turkish company represented by Ayser Ali, a former agent with Kalem Literary Agency as well as a Frankfurt Book Fair fellow in 2010.
The Anglo-Saxon editors present include high-powered literary editor Amber Qureshi, who moved over to Viking Penguin in January of this year, and Rebecca Carter, of Random House UK’s imprint Harvill Secker. Carter is particularly attentive to international literature and specializes in literature in translation. Several of the visiting editors have also worked as translators, such as Israel’s Yedioth Books’ Rana Werbin, and Magdalena Marculescu, editorial director of the Romanian TREI Publishing Group.
Editors coming from afar include Jiang Lei, who studied French literature and works at the state-owned Jiangsu-based Yilin Press, and João Batista Kreuch from Brazil’s Editora Vozes Ltda Giovanna De Angelis, for Fazi Editore, focuses on contemporary French authors and often acquires rights for French novels. She has expressed interest in finding first time authors.
Sarah Ben Hamadi, of the Tunisian Cérès Editions, one of North Africa’s largest publishing houses is looking to forge relationships with French publishers and learn about foreign rights.