Home > Crime Fiction, Noir, Personal Posts, Polar > Quais du Polar 2018

Quais du Polar 2018

For newcomers to Book Around the Corner, Quais du Polar is a crime fiction festival set in Lyon. Writers come and meet with readers, participate to panels about crime fiction and celebrate this literary genre with amateurs. The whole city organize meets, games, conferences, films, exhibits around crime fiction for three days. A giant bookshop made of the aggregation of the stands of independent bookstores from Lyon is set up in the great hall of the Chamber of Commerce.

It used to be the Lyon Stock Exchange and during a weekend, it’s a crowded place full of crime fiction lovers who interact with writers, talk with enthusiast libraires (sorry, I can’t call a libraire a book seller, especially not the ones present at Quais du Polar) and read in the alleys between signing and conferences. Here’s the picture of this unique bookstore, on Saturday morning, before the big crowds arrived.

Of course, it ends up with a book haul. That’s inevitable, here’s what I bought:

Craig Johnson was in Lyon again and he will be in other cities in France. It seems that when he’s not in Wyoming, he’s in France! I got another book by him, the edition by Gallmeister because they’re so much better than the paperback version by Le Point.

I started to read La Daronne by Hannelore Cayre while I was waiting for her at her stand and I finished it the day after in a queue before a conference. I was totally captivated and the world could have collapsed around me and I wouldn’t have noticed. I’ll write a billet about it. I’d heard it was excellent and I wasn’t disappointed.

Another French writer: Pascal Dessaint. I’ve never read him and he’s not available in English. He’s published by Rivages Noir which is a good sign for me. He recommended to start with Loin des humains. He said it encapsulates the elements that are the trademark of his work. Who am I to contradict the author? I trust his judgement and will discover his work with this one.

I’d heard about My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent through the newsletter of his French publisher, Gallmeister. If they decided to publish it, then it’s good American literature. I bought it in English even if I’m sure that the translation is excellent.

This year, the festival was dedicated to Italian crime fiction and I bought Piste noire (Black Run) by Antonio Manzini after hearing him at a panel about Italy.

I was tempted by many other books and was a bit disappointed not to find any Australian crime fiction gem. I asked to several libraires but Oz crime fiction isn’t widely spread here.

I only went to three panels, one about Italy and its regions, one about republishing books and one among writers who have a teenager as central character in their latest book. I’ll write more about the conferences. This year I could only attend the festival for two days but I had a great time with friends, I loved wandering in the bookstore, being among so many avid readers.

As always, writers seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the visitors. This 14th edition of the festival was a success, a great way to celebrate crime fiction as a noble literary genre.

Tom from Les Expectations de Hurlevent (That’s what his blog Wuthering Expectations has become during his stay in France) wrote three billets about the festival, you can find them here, here and here.

  1. April 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    You’ve been quite restrained this year in terms of attendance and book acquisition! So sorry to have missed this, will be catching up with some of the panels via the recordings.


    • April 8, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      I missed you, we had a lot of fun last year.

      It’s the school holidays here and we decided to leave on Sunday, so I missed a day of festival. I didn’t rush to a lot of panels but spent a lovely lunch break with friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. April 8, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    My Absolute Darling got a LOT of press here. I read a (non professional) review of it and I lost interest. So I’ll be interested to see your impression. My response “No thanks.”


    • April 8, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      We’ll see. I was never disappointed by a book chosen by Gallmeister. But there’s always a first time for everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. April 9, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Did you meet some authors ?


  4. April 9, 2018 at 9:19 am

    The authors could not be more friendly and accessible. One of the many pleasures of this unusual and special event.

    My only concern is that it is outgrowing its current space. How sad it would be if it had to move to some generic conference center. Neither of us have noted that all of the events are free! Amazing. The books are not free. Ma femme et moi bought only five books between us, although we know where to get more if we have second thoughts.

    Thanks so much for your help with it, and with your continued interest. Yes, bookish people with should put this one on their To Be Visited list.


    • April 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      I agree with you, the main risk now is that they outgrow the current locations. It’s getting more and more packed. It’s nice to see so much enthusiasm for literature. It would be a pitty to move from these places as the historical buildings have an incredible charm. Being in the city center is also a plus for the visitors, I think.

      You’re right, I forgot to mention it was free. I’ve never been to a book fair with an entrance fee here. For me, it’s normal that it’s free.


  5. April 15, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    I’m not a great one for crime fiction but still – too bad I missed it! Did you go to the discussion with Benedek Totth? If yes I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts. I’ll look for it on replay too.


    • April 15, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Next year maybe?
      I went to this discussion and took notes. Tallent seemed the most interesting writer of the panel, like David Vann last year. I’m looking forward to reading My Absolute Darling.


  1. December 23, 2018 at 7:41 pm

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