Home > Personal Posts > Quais du Polar is suspended: bloody virus

Quais du Polar is suspended: bloody virus

It’s official, Quais du Polar (April 3-5) is suspended this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision was inevitable and of course, understandable. We won’t be out of this crisis by April 3rd.

Each year, the festival has a theme and the 2020 edition was focused on shedding “the light on “the other Americas”, the diversity of American peoples, the minorities sometimes forgotten or misunderstood, the linguistic enclaves, the various social crisis, and the forgotten ones of the American dream. Yes, it was promising.

The Quais du Polar Prize will be announced online on April 3rd and we’ll see what suspended means as opposed to cancelled.

I’m sorry for the non-profit organization Quais du Polar and all the volunteers for all the work they had already put in to prepare the festival. I hope Quais du Polar will get financial help and that they’ll be able to recover from this year’s crisis. This festival must go on next year, 100 000 people attended in 2019 and many of them came to Lyon for the occasion. It’s good for the city, it’s good for the book industry.

I don’t know how disappointed the writers might be, they always seem to have a good time at Quais du Polar, meeting fellow writers from various countries and talking to avid crime fiction readers. Some are really impressed by the crowds and the lines at the signings.

One major side of the festival is the giant bookstore set up in the Chamber of Commerce. Indie libraires have a stand, welcome writers for signings and interact with the public to recommend crime fiction books. They are at the heart of the festival too. In 2019, they sold 40 000 books during the three-days festival. Now these shops won’t have this business and will be closed to the public until further notice. Imagine the loss for these small businesses. I will go and buy them the number of books I would have bought at the festival, as soon as I can. I hope other readers will do it too and that the bookshops will be able to ride this tsunami and hold on. We need them on our streets and in our neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, let’s all be respectful of security measures, keep working as best we can and read from the TBR.

  1. March 15, 2020 at 9:41 am

    I saw that and immediately thought of you. So sad, but understandable. I fear all festivals in April and May here in UK will be suspended too, so much for launching Spada in English. 😢 Still, what’s important now is that we all get through this safely and sanely.


    • March 15, 2020 at 10:01 am

      It was the right decision when it was made and now it would have been imposed anyway.

      I’m lucky my kids are old enough to stay home on their own. We’l see how it goes at work tomorrow.
      Weird and stressful times.


  2. March 15, 2020 at 9:44 am

    It’s disappointing, no doubt…we have had some significant events cancelled here in Australia too, and the arts industry is very hard hit. I saw a young violinist on TV last night: all her gigs had been cancelled to the end of May so she has no income for all of that time, and no doubt she will not be the only one. As you say, there are many people behind the scenes as well.
    What we must try to do as best we can is cooperate, of course, but also to keep our online communities together, cheering each other up as things get worse, or at least sharing our stories. Take care, and stay well, Lisa


    • March 15, 2020 at 10:06 am

      It’s going to hit hard on the art industry here too. They were already hit by the strikes, especially in Paris (no public transport means to way to get to theatres…)
      The government announced financial support for businesses, we’ll see how it works.

      And yes, we need to keep in touch and make sure eveyone is doing ok.

      I hope that the Spouse and you are OK, that you’re staying safely at home.

      As we say in France, le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres: the TBRs will decrease…Mine especially, since I won’t buy books online to have a buying binge in indie shops when I can.


  3. March 15, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Such a shame and as you say, you do worry for the charities and non-profits who have so few finances to weather this storm. It’s a completely understandable decision but it will be such a relief when all this has passed!


    • March 15, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      Now the shops are all closed and it’s going to be even worse for the local ones.

      I wonder how long it’s going to last…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. March 15, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Such a shame but the right thing today at the moment. I do hope the bookshops and the small presses and the like will be ok through the current crisis – lord knows we need the arts to keep us sane….


    • March 15, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      There’s no other choice than shutting everything down and I do hope small shops and publishers survive this crisis.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. March 15, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Right decision, but how disappointing.😒


    • March 15, 2020 at 10:30 pm

      Terribly disappointing, this festival is so great to promote crime fiction.
      We’ll be all obliged to stay at home soon, I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Vishy
    March 16, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Very sad to know that, Emma. Such difficult times. Hope they think of an online version of Quais du Polar for this year. Time is very short to organize that though. I feel very sad…

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 16, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      I hope they’ll manage to save some of the events.
      Lots of people participate: libraries, police stations, cinemas. They had an exclusive session of the first episode of the new season of Engrenages.
      There’s a detective investigation in the city: they might manage to postpone it.

      We have to wait and see and anyway we’re in isolation for at least 15 days now.


  7. March 16, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    That’s such a shame, Emma: the theme this year sounded fascinating. And you did a good job of showing how many other people and businesses are affected. It’s going to be so hard for them to survive. There will need to be some kind of government bailout for small businesses, but I don’t know how it will work. In the meantime, as you say, let’s all stay safe, stay in, and chip away at that TBR.


    • March 16, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      The government has announced help for businesses whatever their size. I hope these shops survive this crisis.
      And yes, at least I’ll reduce the TBR.

      In today’s speech, President Macron recommended reading to pass the time at home. (I’m glad we don’t have the orange-faced president. Btw, I just realized that in the White House too, Orange Is the New Black)

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 26, 2020 at 7:47 pm

        It’s odd, but I find it difficult to imagine a British Prime Minister or an American President recommending reading. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s the strong strain of anti-intellectualism in both countries. Or maybe they just want us to stay stupid enough to keep voting for them. Anyway, it’s sad. Good for Macron. I’m not a big fan of him in general, but compared to Johnson and Trump he looks like a great statesman!


        • March 26, 2020 at 10:28 pm

          This president is interested in books and theater, that’s at least one redeeming quality.

          For the rest, well… At least he doesn’t speak like a high-school dropout.


  8. Pat
    March 21, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Emma, do you know if there is going to be a Prix du Quai des polars awarded this year to the best polar in spite of the cancellation?


    • March 21, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      Hi, yes, it will be announced online on April 3rd.


      • Pat
        March 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm

        Do you know which books are in the running?


        • March 21, 2020 at 9:24 pm

          No but it may be on their website


  9. March 22, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    Disappointing, but correct as you say. We’re seeing very much the same in the UK – I understand the Hay Festival is closed and may be in financial trouble. Most indie bookstores have shut including London Review Bookshop, my favourite.

    Waterstones stayed open and insisted staff turn up but refused to allow wearing of masks or gloves, plus provided no hand gel. Admin staff at head office were sent home though. There was an outcry and they’ve now closed but it was shameful.

    Glad to hear you’re ok. I’m planning to keep buying books during my own self isolation through mail order from indie bookshops. The LRB is working out how to sell that way and once they do I’ll place some orders. Ironically I’m so busy with work (remotely, so endless conference calls) that I have less time to read than usual.

    I hope they reuse that theme – it is a very good one.


    • March 23, 2020 at 7:28 am

      Here, all bookstores are closed, even online ones, except Amazon & FNAC.
      Since I want to spend my money in independant bookstores, I’ll wait.I have enough books on the TBR anyway.

      I’ve seen the Waterstones thing on social media, if they didn’t know how to damage their reputation, they sure do now.

      You seem to be OK as well and like you, I’m very busy working from home. Lots of conference calls as well since Tuesday, things should settle down this week.
      Take care.


  1. March 22, 2020 at 3:40 pm
  2. March 22, 2020 at 10:03 pm

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