The 25th edition of the literary festival was held from May 23 to 25 in the corsair city, in the presence of the American Anthony Doerr and three ministers.
The Étonnants Voyageurs de Saint-Malo festival, which took place this weekend, celebrated its twenty-five years of existence with an ambitious poster: 250 invited authors, 300 debates, 100 films screened, seven literary prizes, exhibitions etc. Some 60,000 people jostled in the city of Saint-Malo, a stable figure, while the Paris Book Fair in March welcomed “only” 180,000 visitors, a figure down 10%.
The crowd was such that the information site News evokes endless queues and rooms too small that forced enthusiasts to come several hours in advance to be sure of being able to attend the conference of their choice.
According to Weekly Books, the big name of the festival, Michel Le Bris, has struggled to make ends meet this year because of the reduction in public funding, despite new private partners, including François Pinault. Michel Le Bris tried to make the three ministers who came to the festival aware of his cause. Annick Girardin, the Secretary of State for La Francophonie, originally from Saint-Malo, and the Keeper of the Seals, Christiane Taubira, who, according to The Malouin country, was “very affordable” and “took the time to discuss and pose for photos with festival-goers”. The Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, also strolled the aisles of the salon in casual attire, during a short weekend by the sea. “Write above all that I am here in all discretion. I didn’t want to warn any official“ he asked reporters from Telegram.
Among the invited authors, the American Anthony doerr, whose last novel All the light that we can’t see (Albin Michel), Pulitzer Prize 2015, takes place in Saint-Malo, naturally attracted crowds. Another American, Philipp meyer, author of Son, winner of one of the Festival’s prizes, was also a resounding success.
The range of writers present was varied: Russel Banks, Jonathan Coe, Alaa El Aswany, Kamel Daoud, Jérôme Ferrari, Mona Ozouf, Isabelle Autissier, Jean-Louis-Etienne, Gilles Lapouge, Boulem Sansal, Yvon Le Men, Michel Serres, Timothée de Fombelle, Jean Teulé etc.
Asked by The cross, the founder of the festival, Michel Le Bris, took stock of the twenty-five years of this literary event, a sustainability that he had not envisaged in 1990: “The festival has, I believe, become a reflection on the state. of the world. And all the more so today as the world has come closer to us last January: history is back to basics, we are discussing the Republic and secularism, he said. Basically, men never fight for ideas, not for a 0.1% increase in the minimum wage. This is what we are trying to show, while remaining a non-political but literary festival, whose human dimension must be visible.“
Seven literary prizes were awarded:
Literature-World / AFD Prize to Simone Schwartz-Bart, The ancestor in solitude (Seuil) and Philipp Meyer, The son (Albin Michel)
Joseph Kessel Prize to Éric Vuillard, Sadness of the earth (South Acts)
Seafarers Award to Nicolas Cavaillès, Why the whale jump? (The Ringer)
Nicolas-Bouvier Prize to Paolo Rumiz, Le Phare: Motionless journey (Hoebecke)
Amazing Travelers Award to Sylvain Coher, North-North-West (South Acts)
Robert-Ganzo Prize for Poetry to Valérie Rouzeau
Grand Prize for Imagination to Christophe Lambert, No man is an island (I read)
The next Saint-Malo Étonnants Voyageurs festival will take place from May 14 to 16, 2016.
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The 2015 Pulitzer Prize, star of the Astonishing Voyageurs in Saint-Malo