Stefan Hertmans and Stefan Brijs shine their light on France
Recently, two major names in Flemish literature – Stefan Hertmans and Stefan Brijs – were on tour in France, to present recent French translations of their work. This visit was part of the Dutch-Flemish promotional campaign Les Phares du Nord, which aims to bring Dutch-language literature to the attention of a French-language audience.
For both authors, the busy French itinerary began in Nancy, where the fair ‘Le Livre sur la Place’ attracts 150,000 visitors on average over three days. Stefan Brijs promoted ‘Taxi Curaçao’ (Éditions Héloïse d’Ormesson), the French translation by Daniel Cunin of his novel Moon and Sun from 2015. Stefan Hertmans presented ‘Le coeur converti’, published by Gallimard in a translation by Isabelle Rosselin. This French translation of The Convert continued the international success story of the novel: the translation rights have already been sold to more than ten countries.
The fair in Nancy offered an extensive programme, with appearances by authors in wonderful historical buildings around various squares. In addition, there were many book signings and also a network event provided for the authors. There, they could make contacts with journalists, booksellers, French colleague authors, and members of the Académie, etc. ‘Le Livre sur la Place’ is primarily a French event: our two Flemish authors were the exceptions, and this is why it was even more interesting for them to be there.
The trip subsequently continued to Paris. A double programme was organised in the Maison de la Poésie, in which Stefan Hertmans and Stefan Brijs appeared together. A captivating evening with a discussion about Flemish identity, fate, and of course literature. For both authors, these were exceptionally busy and tiring days, but they were also fruitful and enthusing, and will help to put their work even more firmly on the map in France.
Photos © Sigrid Bousset