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Meeting of French and American writers in New York .


Meeting of French and American writers in New York

Even darkest with our writers - Emmanuel Carrère at the head - radiated with one joy surprising for this first Festival of New French Writing organized last weekend by the University of New York (NYU), FranceCulture and the culture section of the embassy of France. Is one thus interested, in the United States, with our literature? In America which would read only its own authors - 300 pounds foreigners only among the 200,000 books published in 2008 - and which, in addition, do see its publishers to sink in the crisis?



During three days, in front of a public which precipitated in the historical rooms of the University of New York, French writers and American dialogued out of tandem, each one having read for the occasion the books of the other. Moreover, only the authors translated into English were invited to this festival and, good news all the same, about sixty French books were published last year in the United States.

Fiction or non-fiction? All, except for some journalist-writers attached by their profession to the sacro-saint “the facts are the facts”, were ready to finish some with this axiom which wants that the life is not a novel.

Emmanuel Carrère pointed out that if he had proposed a book on a mythomaniac who assassinates his family, its editor would have found the scenario incredible: “It is about a true story, however unacceptable in the fiction”, he notes. It will be the Adversary. Concurrently to him, Francine Prose - very prolific, it alternates fiction and non-fiction, moreover its next book tells the history of the newspaper of Anne Frank (Anne Frank: the Book, the Life, the Afterlife) - division same fascination for the novel of the true stories: “In this moment, in the United States, it does without every day the incredible stories but true, like that of Bernie Madoff”, she says. Who will make the first romantic account of the swindler of the 21st century?


Principle of reality.

Marie Darrieussecq listened to Adam Gopnik, who made a novel of his American daily life in Paris (Paris to the Moon) and quotes the enigmatic words of his psychiatrist when it left: “The life has many interesting aspects…” But, known as Marie Darrieussecq while smiling: “My life is not enthralling. For me, the fiction is much more exciting.

Admittedly, there were exchanges well far from the fiction, like Philip Gourevitch, the author of the book world reference on the genocide to Rwanda (We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families) dialoguing with Abdourahman Waberi (In the United States of Africa),  or Bernard-Henri Lévy - one of the rare French intellectuals who became a star in America - attacked by the leftist Mark Danner who “wants to finish some with the ideological analyzes”. And in the centre of the debate fiction against non-fiction, fall at point the paving stone from Benevolent, left this week in the United States, which has been just made assassinate in New York Times in the name of the principle of reality.

Frédéric Beigbeder, who dared, before even the Americans, a novel over on September 11th (Windows one the World), explains that he wanted “to tell the unrepeatable one” whereas its alter ego with the platform, Paul Berman (large specialist in the Sixties) acknowledges that it was not convinced and that it always refuses to read fiction on the World Trade Centre. With the Good-byes with the queen, Chantal Thomas, it, wrote a novel on the true Marie-Antoinette and entrusts, facing an Edmund White charmed, that “the literature rests on the blooming of the madness… which finds its form.” What allows Tom Bishop, director of the Center for French civilization with NYU, which assembled this improbable meeting between writers French and American, to conclude that “this event was organized by the insane ones for others insane”…


New York, from correspondent ANNETTE LÉVY-WILLARD! April 2009. 

Abdourahman Waberi

Marie Darrieussecq

Paul Berman

Bernard Henry-Levy

Adam Gopnik

Francine Prose

Tom Bishop

Philippe Gourevitch

Emmanuel Carrière 

Edmund White

 Chantal Thomas

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