The theme

A Novelty this year, a dual theme :

  • World literature in French
  • World cities

World Literature in French

It has always been our objective, since the inception of the Astonishing Travellers Festival, to assert the urgency of an emerging world literature in French in all genres.
The subtitle of the first edition of the festival back in 1990 mentioned writers rediscovering the world and we have never strayed off course.
We believe in the urgency of opening up French literature to world influences and silencing once and for all those who would rather contemplate their own navels and be weighed down by the unchallenged ideologies of centuries past.
French literature needs to consider writers of world literature in French as equals.
We have done our own small share by taking the Festival to Bamako to meet with the new generation of African writers.
One positive note in our estimation is the fact that 5 out of 7 major literary prizes have been awarded this past year to “ francophone ” as opposed to French writers.
And to quote Alain Mabankou, winner of the 2006 Renaudot prize, “ When we speak about French literature, we are speaking of a literature that is national in scope. Therefore, French literature must strive to integrate the larger family of world literature in French ”. That is why we founded the Festival in 1990, and why we selected this theme as one of two for this year’s festival.

World Cities

The second theme, World Cities, is a natural by-product of the two previous festivals. World Cities will take us from Bombay to Toronto, from London to New York, on a world tour of all the cities in fusion at the vortex of the world of tomorrow and modern contemporary literature. It will also be an opportunity for exciting confrontations of experience, with among others, Anglo-Saxon writers who are the movers and shakers of the world literature movement mentioned earlier and who will be in Saint-Malo just for that purpose. The Festival is meant to provide a framework for discussions and reflections about the new paths literature is embarking on, at a time when French literature is finally opening up to outside influences ...