The ‘Talented Indies’ comes to the Paris Book Fair



Twenty independent Francophone publishers will be present on March 21 at the Paris Book Fair for the ‘Talented Indies’ professional day, brainchild of the Astier-Pécher agency. 

The Talented Indies is an exclusively professional one-day event designed to encourage contacts, and hopefully rights sales, between 20 independent Francophone publishers and non-Francophone players in the book industry. The concept – a first in Paris – is an idea from the Astier-Pécher agency, whose director Pierre Astier was inspired by what he’d seen at several foreign book fairs (Mexico, Taiwan), where independent publishers have their own space to present their titles and sell international rights. At the Paris Book Fair, ‘there was a needfor such a platform’, declares Pierre Astier, despite the fact that French is one of the most widely translated languages in the world. Of the 20 publishers attending, 8 are from the Ile-de-France area, 4 are regionally based and 8 come from abroad, including Nevicata from Brussels, Barzakh from Algiers, Elyzad from Tunis, Proximité from Yaoundé and Zoé from Geneva.

With fiction in the morning and non-fiction in the afternoon, each publisher has a seven-minutes lot to present their firm in front of an audience of over a hundred professionals who have booked their seats. They include reps from Fischer Verlag (Germany), Grijalbo (Spain), and publishers from England, Brazil, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and Latvia. A simultaneous translation service will be provided. ‘I have asked our speakers to be quick, clear and punchy in their delivery,’ confides Pierre Astier, ‘the idea being that more in-depth meetings can take place afterwards in the mini-stands provided for each publisher.’

Talented Indies could also prove to be an inspiration for the French book trade, as French publishers still import very few books published elsewhere in the French language. One of the publishers present, Barzakh, who discovered Kamel Daoudamong others, sold the French publishing rights for Meursault,contre-enquête to Actes Sud, in this way. ‘Many Francophone publishers abandon the idea of publication in France because it is too complicated. So their only solution is either co-edition or selling the rights,’  insists the organiser. ‘The source of the problem also lies with the press, promotional tours and the literary awards, that display scant interest in books that don’t come from France.’

Charles Knappek