Home > ABOUT READING, Crime Fiction, Personal Posts, Polar > Quais du Polar 2021 – Day One

Quais du Polar 2021 – Day One

For newcomers to my blog, Quais du Polar is a crime fiction festival set up in Lyon, France.

In 2020, the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, it was scheduled early in April but was postponed to July 2nd to 4th. Since we still have some restrictions, the organization was changed to avoid large gathering in closed spaces.

The former big bookstore set up in the Chamber of Commerce…

The giant bookstore in 2019

has been replaced by an outdoor book market along the banks of the Rhône river and you have to book a ticket online to attend a conference.

The conferences are still organized at the City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce but new places have been added to the mix. Tomorrow, I’m going on a literary cruise on the Saône river.

I had two reservations for today and I have two for tomorrow. I’m happy with the two events I attended.

This morning, I went to the Paradis Noirs panel. (Black Paradise) The authors were David Vann (USA), Susanna Crossman (UK and France. I wish my English were as good as her French), Patrice Guirao (France) and Piergiorgio Pulixi (Italy).

These four writers have written a crime fiction novel set up in a paradisiac place, namely Sardinia, Tahiti, Komodo Island in Indonesia and an island in Brittany. The journalist asked relevant questions, monitored the speaking time properly and ideas bounced between the writers, showing the similarities between the books. The authors had enough time to share their ideas and obviously enjoyed interacting with each other. I was intrigued by their books:

  • Komodo by David Vann,
  • Les Disparus de Pukatapu by Patrice Guirao
  • L’île sombre by Susanna Crossman
  • L’île des âmes by Piergiorgio Pulixi

I love reading crime fiction in exotic settings, I’m afraid the TBR increased by three books after this panel.

Quais du Polar is about crime fiction but the local authorities involved with crime solving partner with the festival to share how things are done in real life. It helps that Lyon is the city where CSI was developed (with professor Lacassagne, see my billet about Les suppliciées du Rhône by Céline Gatel), where Interpol is located and is the third largest criminal court in France.

Once I visited the school for commissaires de police and saw how they teach the students how to work on a crime scene. Sometimes, a police station is open to the public and the officers share their quotidian.

This year, I went to a conference about cold cases at the court. The speakers were a public prosecutor, Jacques Dallest and two lawyers specialized in solving cold cases, Maître Seban and Maître Corinne Herrmann. The discussion was about cold cases and how the French justice doesn’t handle them well-enough. They shared anecdotes, explained why the judicial system is not as efficient as it should be and how to improve it. They say that they manage to reopen cases when families or journalists come to see them with something new. There’s also the possibility to reexamine clues with new forensic methods.

It was fascinating to be in the room where the hearings are done and listen to them talk about their work.

If you’re curious about Quais du Polar, check out their website here. You can also see the conferences in replay.

  1. July 4, 2021 at 2:42 am

    Maybe just a little envious here. Very interesting to hear how the festival has adapted.

    Like

    • July 4, 2021 at 8:50 am

      They adapted well, I think. There’s a lot of stuff going on besides the conferences and the usual book signings.

      Like

  2. July 4, 2021 at 8:40 am

    This sounds lovely, if a little less spontaneous than in previous years. I hope the weather cooperates too. How I miss it! My favourite event of the year!

    Like

    • July 4, 2021 at 8:52 am

      The weather doesn’t cooperate as much as it should in this time of year. Rain…
      I wish you could come again but between Brexit and COVID, it’s hard to get out of England, right?

      There are things online, if you want.

      Like

      • July 4, 2021 at 12:07 pm

        I wouldn’t have been able to come anyway at this date, as I have a major event next week, so a lot of planning and preparation and rehearsals… But yes, if I get any chance to leave the UK, it would be to hop over to Romania to see my poor parents.

        Like

        • July 4, 2021 at 9:02 pm

          I imagine that a visit to your parents in Romania would be the absolute priority. Fingers crossed for this summer?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. July 4, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    How lovely it is to read about a book event! And by someone who is actually able to attend it! It sounds as though you’ve chosen some fascinating events to attend.

    Like

    • July 4, 2021 at 9:03 pm

      I love Quais du Polar, it’s an excellent opportunity to meet writers, it’s free, it’s set in gorgeous buildings in the city, there’s a giant bookstore.
      Bref. A bookworm’s heaven. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. July 4, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    Very jealous – can’t remember when I last went to a book event, and I got over-excited enough visiting a couple of bookshops last weekend!!! 😀

    Like

    • July 4, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      We’re all eager to resume our usual bookish activities. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. July 4, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Being in a place like the 2019 event feels so strange now, just looking at that picture I couldn’t believe all those people indoors together! It sounds like the event has been adapted really well. Hope your next two talks are as enjoyable as the ones so far Emma.

    Like

    • July 17, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      I know. It seems crazy that we were do packed and that’s why I added the caption about the date.
      They did great with the adaptation of the festival. I can’t believe the weather was so rotten. Usually, July is hot and sunny.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. buriedinprint
    July 6, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    Festivals, whether online or attended in person, can be shocking for the TBR. Heheh In a good way. Revitalizing! Not having followed you for very long, I’m just realizing that crime fiction isn’t something you dabble in…here I thought the Longmire books were on your list because of their setting! It’s certainly an addictive genre (I’m enjoying Attica Locke right now), and I look forward to hearing more about this year’s festival “discoveries”. Enjoy!

    Like

    • July 8, 2021 at 6:26 am

      Festivals are one of the best ways to increase the TBR.
      Attica Locke was at Quais du Polar once, I have a signed copy of Black Water Rising on the shelf. Which one are you reading?

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 8, 2021 at 10:14 pm

        Ah, I enjoyed Black Water Rising, must be years ago now. I’m happy to hear that the festival is back up and running, Emma. I enjoyed your virtual version last year, but it’s good to hear that you’re able to go to the real thing now, even if it’s slightly adapted. Hope you enjoy the rest of it!

        Like

        • July 9, 2021 at 7:50 am

          Hi Andrew, it’s good to hear from you.
          I was happy to be back to a real festival this year. I’m not really into the virtual ones.

          Like

        • buriedinprint
          July 15, 2021 at 4:08 pm

          Oooh, a signed copy: how nice! And she wouldn’t have been half so popular back then. I reread BWR thinking I needed to (it was even better than I expected but the reread wasn’t necessary after all); I’m enjoying The Cutting Season. I try to eye what she’s doing that works so well, but I keep getting caught up in the story!

          Like

          • July 16, 2021 at 7:31 am

            I need to take this one off the shelf and read it durinig the holiday.
            My 20 Books of Summer is going off road. I’m not following the list as much as I should. Oh well…

            Like

  7. July 16, 2021 at 3:07 am

    Fascinating details about real work, thanks for sharing

    Like

    • July 16, 2021 at 7:32 am

      Thanks! I love going to the non-literary events when they allow me to go behind the scenes and do things that are usually not open to public.

      Like

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