The « Comedie du livre » is coming back to town this year from the 31st of May through June 3rd and this year’s special focus will be British authors. This is great news, particularly if you are a thief of garden trowels, given the number of British folk who have come to retire in the region. To would be garden utensil thieves my advice is to have a look over some fences around Pézenas or in some of the picturesque villages along the Midi canal. Where under normal circumstances you would find pink faced, garden proud vigils swilling their wine at a faster than local rate you may now find opportunity. You can take the time to nibble on some of their cucumbers and nick their skybox satellite dish.
They will have dusted off their languishing literary aspirations and gone to « La Comedie » in Montpellier. This literary gathering may even create a perceptible lull in the day time trade of some of the local Anglophone pubs.
Let’s face it, most Anglophones came in Montpellier to escape real work and then either to own a vineyard or write a book. Ok, that is exaggeration but I venture that if you grill a resident Anglophone for long enough, many will admit to having had at least some vague dreams of writing a best-seller between naps in the South of France.
The highest hopes an Anglophone writer had of having an impact before this event was having a school or library in a down market part of the city named for them many years after their death. Yes, Montpellier city planners figured Virginia Woolf or James Joyce schools and the Shakespeare library in Petit Bard and Mosson would make relevant role models for the area youths who might aspire to one day become great English writers from another century.
According to its site, the « Comedie du livre » is the 2nd biggest literary salon in France. It is at upper end of what is going on in the world of book promotion at the moment. You may not be aware but there is a widespread current trend for authors to promote their works through their own web sites, blogs and book trailers on the internet. Some are funny and clever but many more are quite trashy but then again so are just as many books and writers.
The « Comedie du livre » aims at the high brow approach to book promotion because the focus is on discourse and interaction with established authors, critics and professors as opposed to some of the more gimmicky sales that may be found on the internet and elsewhere which many start up and would be writers are coerced into. The writers involved in this year’s edition include David Lodge, Jon McGregor and Tim Parks. All the events are free. You can get the details on the following site: www.comediedulivre.montpellier.fr, www.coeurdelivres.fr; www.us.montpellier.fr
Once you have the details you can plan your coup, be it a flash mob to promote your soon to be written masterpiece or imploring your favourite authors with the ever original “please read my manuscript”.
Just remember this quote from my favourite site: www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com and I think you can replace “mid twenties” with any age.
“Sadly, more books about mid-twenties white people travelling have been written than have been read.”-stuffwhitepeoplelike.com