Home > Personal Posts, Uncategorized > Quais du Polar 2021 – Day #2

Quais du Polar 2021 – Day #2

So, we’re Wednesday and until now, I didn’t have the time or energy to write about my second day at Quais du Polar on Sunday.

I had booked a seat at a Literary Cruise on the Saône River and the speaker was Florence Aubenas. She’s a famous French international reporter and a war reporter. She works at Le Monde. She was abducted in Iraq in 2005 and was kept prisoner during five months. She’s also well-known for going undercover as a cleaning lady in 2009. She wanted to live the life of underpaid blue-collar workers who work insecure jobs and report about it. It became a bestseller, Le Quai de Ouistreham and it has been made into a film by Emmanuel Carrère.

the cruise boat

I was curious to hear her talk about her experience and about her last book, L’inconnu de la poste. She writes about an actual murder case that happened in Montréal-La-Cluse, in the Jura region. It’s a village of 3500 souls where the postmistress was murdered when she was on duty. Florence Aubenas was sent there to cover the story, got hooked up with the mystery around it and went there on and off during several years. She relates this story in her book.

It was a delightful hour as she’s fascinating to listen to. She’s very friendly, close to the public and we all listened with rapt attention. The setting was great too because we got a cruise on the river out of it and I think it was a great idea to organize a conference in such a neat setting.

After that, I had planned to visit the bookstores set up in tents on the bank of the Rhône River with a friend but the weather was not cooperating at all. We gave up and stayed put in a restaurant.

In the afternoon, we went to Noir in Lyon, a panel of writers who wrote crime fiction books set in Lyon. There was Coline Gatel for her second book set during La Belle Epoque, Gwenaël Bulteau for his novel set in the Croix-Rousse neighborhood during the Dreyfus Affair, Loulou Dedola, a BD author and François Médéline for two books, L’ange rouge and La sacrifiée du Vercors, set during WWII. This panel was a bit too messy for my tastes but I got to discover local writers.

Noir à Lyon

I manage to spend some time at open bookstore, chatted a little with Dominique Sylvain and upon her recommendation, bought the fourth volume of her Lola & Ingrid series.

This festival was the first one I went to in this COVID times. They managed to reorganize it in the season (usually it’s the last weekend of March) and to relocate it in several places in the city. There was a lot less visitors than usual, probably because you had to book conferences in advance, because the weather was terrible and only a few international writers managed to come. But it felt good to go to a real book festival and hopefully, things will get back to normal in March 2022.

Many thanks to the staff and volunteers who gave their time and energy to celebrate crime fiction in Lyon.

  1. July 7, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    How lovely for you to be able to visit a literary festival again. I’m hoping to be able to do the same in October when the Henley Literary Festival takes place in Henley-on-Thames. Unfortunately, they won’t be using a river boat as a venue this year as they have in previous years. I agree with you it’s a wonderful environment in which to hear from an author. I recall listening to Diane Setterfield read from her book Once Upon A River whilst cruising along the River Thames, the very river of the book’s title. Here’s to a full return to “normality” next year.


    • July 8, 2021 at 6:29 am

      I hope you’ll be able to attend the Henley Literary Festival. It’s good to find a bit of normalcy and yes, I really enjoyed the boat venue. I hope they’ll do it again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. July 8, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Sounds marvellous Emma – so glad you could get out to a bookish event!!


    • July 8, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      It felt good and now I’m under the impression that I took advantage of a tiny window of freedom, as the number of COVID cases increases again in France…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. buriedinprint
    July 16, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    That sounds like a really interesting event and I see that our library has ordered L’inconnu de la poste, but it also sounds long and is probably beyond my comfort level in French; I see she is sometimes translated though so maybe it’ll come along. One of my favourite writers, Tomson Highway, has written a play about The Postmistress in a northern indigenous community (Cree) and I love it; this is obviously completely different! I can relate to being too tired from a festival to write about the festival…but that’s a nice problem to have! 🙂


    • July 17, 2021 at 9:34 pm

      I hope that L’inconnu de la poste gets translated.
      And yes, Quais du Polar is a great literary event. It’s not highbrow and it’s fun to meet the writers and hear them talk about their books and crime fiction related themes.

      Liked by 1 person

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