French Literary Agents Stage a Quiet Revolution

In Growth Markets by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije PARIS:  Until very recently, literary agents have been viewed in France with suspicion and the very topic seen as taboo. Traditionally, authors would submit and sell books directly to publishers. Agents were viewed as mere interlopers, interfering with a privileged relationship between author and publisher and introducing a mercenary, Anglo-Saxon element into the closed publishing circuit. But …

Are French Authors Better Off With or Without Agents?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In today’s feature story about the increasing influence of literary agents in French publishing, author Jonathan Littell is quoted as saying that, as an American (albeit one writing in French), getting an agent was second nature to him. “In the Anglo-Saxon literary world if you want to publish a book, you look for an agent first,” he …

The Literary Life of the French Foreign Legion

In Guest Contributors by Guest Contributor

By Robert Girardi I was drawn to the French Foreign Legion—the subject of my new novel, Gorgeous East—for a variety of reasons. Chief among them has to do with a foolish weakness for old things: old books full of dust, old cars barely running, old chairs that you can barely sit in, old apartment buildings (hopefully without roaches) and most …

Bonus Material: Join the French Foreign Legion, Oui or Non?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka As discussed in our lead story today, one of the benefits—perhaps the main benefit—of joining the French Foreign Legion is the privilege of l’anonymat. It allows you to enlist under a fake name and, after five years of service, retire with a new identity and French citizenship, thus totally erasing your past. What’s interesting to note is …

Publishing for Les Petits Parisiens

In Children's, Growth Markets by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije The French children’s book fair—the Salon du Livre et de la Presse—celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, with Italy as the guest of honor.  Held in the Paris suburb of Montreuil, it’s the biggest fair of its kind in Europe that caters to the general public; and is immensely popular with parents and children, as well as …

France Rates Top Indie Bookshops Like Wine

In Feature Articles by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije Independent bookstores in France—much like the country’s wine—can now qualify for a label indicating high quality. The long-awaited “Librairie Indépendante de Référence” (“Recommended Independent Bookshop”) label, which was part of a 2007 “plan livre” launched by former culture minister Christine Albanel, is now a reality and, as of September, 406 of France’s 3,000 independent bookstores qualified for the …

Bonus Material: France’s 406 Top Indies

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka A total of 640 bookstores applied to be designated as a “Librairie Indépendante de Référence” (“Recommended Independent Bookshop”), but only 406 made the cut. The stores come from 234 municipalities, representing the full geographical range of French bookselling. (Read more about independent booksellers in France here.) DOWNLOAD: The full list of stores (in PDF format).

French Books en force

In Feature Articles by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije French publishers have weathered the economic downturn comparatively well, and this fall a total of 659 French and foreign novels were published for the inescapable rentrée littéraire (literary season). Many of the books being presented here at Frankfurt have already made the long or shortlist of the numerous French literary prizes that will be announced at the …

Bringing Asia to France

In Feature Articles by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije ARLES: “Asia is vast enough to be our only concern” is the motto of Editions Philippe Picquier, the French publishing house based in Arles, France. With more than 800 titles in their catalogue, the Editions Philippe Picquier has been publishing material ranging from classical and modern literature to detective stories and children’s books by Chinese, Japanese, Korean …

In Paris and Frankfurt, Cookbooks Get “Fair” Treatment

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka BEIJING: “I’ve been going to the Frankfurt Book Fair since 1995 and the number of cookbooks on offer at the show has quadrupled since that time,” says Edouard Cointreau, chairman and founder of Gourmand International, speaking from Beijing, where he’s busy filming a cooking series for the Chinese Food Network. “In the US alone, cookbook sales have …