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Posted by on in French Culture & Traditions

Watch out for new books; it's la rentrée littéraire!

La rentrée; it's over and done with, right?  Well almost, but not quite.  Children and university students have gone back to school and normalcy has returned.  Restaurants and businesses are working regular hours and we've all made resolutions for fresh starts, but now it's the turn of the publishing sector to "return".  La rentrée littéraire is a big event in the cultural calendar; it's when all the main publishing houses put out their new titles for the year in the lead up to the big literary prizes.  While it's nothing like as big a "rentrée" as the school term, it's still very much part of the September rentrée thing and many of my French friends felt I should have mentioned it in my original post.  So, sorry for not bringing it up earlier frenchies, but here it is in its own right.

             rentrée littéraire1

The idea of the rentrée littéraire is mainly commercial; it's a way for publishers to spread the word about new works before the big selling period at Christmas and to get their competition entrants into the public eye before the big prizes are announced. The main literary prizes in France including the Goncourt, the Renaudot, the Médicis and the Femina are all judged between October and early December, leaving time for the winning books to be snapped up as Christmas presents. This year there are 555 new titles on the shelves making it the first time in 12 years that less than 600 new books have been published. Traditionally, authors who have already won a literary prize are published after the competitions, in January, paving the way for first-time and lesser known writers. 

             rentrée littéraire2

You don't have to be a rat de bibliothèque - literally a library rat, i.e a book worm - to be aware of this going on.  Television and radio programmes discuss the new books and the literary prizes far more than I've ever been aware of in other countries.  Even people I'd describe as "non-readers" (of books), such as my JF, are aware of who's won which prize and who the new sensations are. Whether this is owing to France's tradition as literary/intellectual culture or just a very successful commercial campaign I don't know.  

             rentrée littéraire3

I wonder what you think?  Are you aware of new authors, literary prizes and their recipients in your country?  What are you currently reading?  And would you rather be a rat or a worm?!  I'd love to hear from you.

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Comments

  • Guest
    Delia @ Blog Formatting dimanche, 29 septembre 2013

    Really inspiring post, Phoebe - made me think I've read too much online books lately. Time to go back to the old paper format ;)

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    I know what you mean Delia, we can get swamped by all the online stuff we do. It's good to reconnect with paper sometimes!

  • Guest
    Remy dimanche, 29 septembre 2013

    I love to read! However, in the past 2 years I have been a little bit lazy in my books reading. Furthermore, I have always encourage my son to read and he is on the top of his class, in his reading scores.

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    Well done to your son Remy, that's a great achievement! :D

  • Guest
    Emily Wilke samedi, 28 septembre 2013

    Wow, I was unaware of this cultural event. I am not even sure if it happens in California. The problem is I am not much of a reader due to two children under 3 and a jewelry business that requires I spend my extra time making jewelry. I will definitely keep my mind out for this. I hope that as my children age I will get more time to read.

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    Having young kids definitely makes it difficult to find time for yourself. But it does get easier as they get older! Good luck with the jewellery business.

  • Guest
    Lisa Mallis vendredi, 27 septembre 2013

    I love, love, love to read. Currently, I'm rereading, "Getting Things Done" by David Allen (I always find another tidbit I can use with my clients). I'm also reading "Wellness Coaching for Lasting Lifestyle Change" by Michael Arloski for my coaching class. Another great read! Plus, I have the latest Nora Roberts book on my nightstand!

    Thanks for the informative post!

    Lisa

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    Sounds like you're very positive in your reading choice Lisa. Great to see you here. Thanks

  • Guest
    Eva Synnergren jeudi, 26 septembre 2013

    Interesting event. I love reading so tips are always welcome. The IKEA book above seems interesting - Voiage du fakir. My daughter just started to work there, I wonder if she will get that voiage? :D

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    That's so funny that I posted this crazy book just as your daughter just started to work at Ikea. I love having a comment from a Swede! Thanks Eva. :o

  • Guest
    Marge jeudi, 26 septembre 2013

    I read a lot of self help books and I just buy them when ever...but this interesting...I do know a few new authors though.Living F.A.B.ulously on Purpose

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    Interesting choice of reading Marge. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Keri Kight
    Keri Kight mercredi, 25 septembre 2013

    This is very interesting Phoebe. In the U.S. I guess we have other priorities. I certainly consider myself a bookworm, but I've never kept up with book awards and such. I just read what seems great, what my friends recommend, and what Amazon recommends. :) I'm currently reading "My Sister's Keeper." I watched the movie a few years ago when it came out, and I completely bawled my eyes out the entire time. What a strong message and beautiful story.

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    I've read that too, it's very powerful. Great to "meet" another BookWorm! I rely heavily on friends' recommendations too.

  • Guest
    Lorelle Mac mercredi, 25 septembre 2013

    I've always been a book worm, getting lost in the book and shutting out the world. I would be panicky if I didn't have a new one waiting to read next.
    These days I'll have a lazy day occasionally and chill out with a book. I don't follow the new releases in my country but I do for my favourite authors

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    I'm just like you Lorelle, always needing the next one nearby. I've usually got a great big pile by my bed.

  • Kate thraedgold
    Kate thraedgold mercredi, 25 septembre 2013

    The book fair in Moans Sartoux has been a regular visit whilst helping out on school trips and it normaly always coincided with my birthday so my kids thought it a real treat for me to go with them and 30 other kids . The kids have a chance to meet authors and those that illustrate books and hear poetry, it is always lots of fun and english books are there to buy to .

  • Guest
    Phoebe vendredi, 04 octobre 2013

    That sounds great Kate; maybe I'll try and make it this year - for MY birthday!! :)

  • Guest
    Chris Herlicq mardi, 24 septembre 2013

    I am not really aware of new writers or prizewinners unless I actively go looking for the information but I do enjoy the book fairs they often have in France (Mouans Sartoux does a really big one) and this is surely a good way for the general public to meet new authors.
    I think I would rather be a worm ....

  • Guest
    Phoebe mardi, 24 septembre 2013

    Rats are very intelligent though Chris!! I'm not so sure I'd chose worm! I've never been to the Mouans Sartoux fair, I should go one day. Thanks for commenting.

  • M-F
    M-F mardi, 24 septembre 2013

    I love the name of the Ikea book, is that what you're reading now Phoebe? I'm not so aware of authors except the big names and mega commercial successes like the 50 shades series, even though I didn't read it, how can one avoid?

  • Guest
    Phoebe mardi, 24 septembre 2013

    I couldn't resist the Ikea book, but I haven't started it yet.

  • Guest
    jf mardi, 24 septembre 2013

    Your article inspired me to read more, thank you Phoebe!

  • Guest
    Phoebe mardi, 24 septembre 2013

    you should try the book about the Fakir stuck in the Ikea wardrobe!

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