“France is well known for its high-quality literature, but I think there is emerging a French popular literature, too,” says Fabrice Piault. “If you look at the bestseller list this summer, most titles are coming from French popular literature.”
A new president, a political system unrecognizable from only a year ago, a country looking to expand its influence on the world stage and to assert itself once again as an economic and cultural superpower.
From Paris, the summer of 2017 looks much the same as it does from Washington.
The election in June of Emmanuel Macron as French President made clear that France has entered a new political period, with traditional parties in decline, new forces on the rise on the right and left, and a sense that the old ways may no longer be relevant.
Fabrice Piault became editor-in-chief of Livres Hebdo in 2015. He joined the Paris-based publication, which reports on the French publishing industry as well as booksellers, in 1987 as a reporter. He is also president of ACBD, the association of critics and journalists covering graphic novels and comic books in France. Piault is a keen observer not only of le monde literaire francais, but also of the world publishing scene. In his office off Boulevard Saint-Germain in the Latin Quarter of Paris, he recently told CCC’s Chris Kenneally of the forces at work in a changing world of French publishing.
“France is well known for its high-quality literature,” Piault acknowledged. “But I think there is emerging a French popular literature [since] maybe about two years ago or so. We always had a few writers doing this type of literature, like Marc Levy or Guillaume Musso, or a little more recently, Katherine Pancol or Anna Gavalda. But now we have dozens, actually. And if you look at the bestseller list this summer, most of the 20 bestsellers are coming from this type of books – popular literature.”