Chambéry's First Novel Festival is unique in that around 3200 readers in France and abroad select the authors who will be invited after having read their works. All these pioneers of new talent have one ambition: to share their discoveries of the previous year with you !
So, whether you are a regular or occasional reader, a well-informed booklover or simply curious, you may be sure that the Festival has something to offer you. In a warm and laid-back atmosphere, you will discover tomorrow's new francophone and European writers, surrounded by confirmed novelists, you will have the opportunity to speak with authors in meetings linger in the Chapiteau Livres (bookshop) and devour the booksellers' favorites, to take part in a translation workshops.
Choose the events which appeal to you and make this Festival ... your own story.
A unique, multifaceted festival, where the readers' opinion holds sway
Chambéry's Festival du premier Roman is France's only literary event which uses readings as the means to discover and promote francophone and European first novels. In practice, this means that 3200 readers select – following a year of readings and debates – the authors who have made the greatest impression and invite them to the Festival. Hence, every year 16 first-time francophone novelists and 6 authors of Spanish, German, Romanian and British debut novels take part in the Festival, in the company of famous writers. This original approach makes the Festival a unique, multifaceted event, fostering the creation of contemporary literature.
An active reading season…
A wide variety of first novels, selected from the year's francophone and European publications, is distributed to the network of readers across a wide territory in France and other countries. Many readers get to read French, Italian, Spanish, German, Romanian and British first novels "in the original". Over the course of the year, all the readers have numerous opportunities to exchange their opinions on what they have read, either in face to face debates, or on Alphalire. Through Festival’s online reading platform, everyone can access French and foreign language first novels and share their favorites. In a few clicks, connected readers can skim through books, read entire novels and comment on their literary finds. Thus, a huge community of readers is created, with online exchanges of views, just as lively as those expressed in the readers' clubs which have been the Festival's distinguishing feature for 32 years.
Within the network, hundreds of young people, from junior high school up to university level participate in the Chambéry Festival dynamic, exchange views, debate and meet the authors in person or by exchanging letters.
For those readers with limited access to books or experiencing social problems, groups have been formed in hospitals, penal establishments, retirement homes, community centres… People with reading difficulties can also take part in the Festival thanks to the « donneurs de voix » (voice-givers), volunteer readers who record the preselected francophone and European novels in MP3 format.
At the close of the active reading and debating season, all the readers vote for their favourites: their "hit parade", announced in March, is recognised and eagerly awaited by publishing professionals, the press and all those in search of new literary discoveries. This selection, chosen by a demanding and passionate readership, offers a voyage of discovery of francophone and European literature which departs from the beaten tracks, and determines which first-time novelists will be invited to the Festival.
... followed by the Festival in May
This year, the Festival welcomes 23 authors of francophone and European debut novels selected by the readers' community, renowned authors guests at previous editions. and the writer Boualem Sansal, guest of honor. Over the four days of the Festival, various locations in Chambéry host meetings, round tables, translation workshops, and also literary breakfast, performances, exibitions and wide-ranging discussions with novelists on café terraces.
The Festival offers its audience a chance to explore literature as it is being created, in an environment open to a blend of other artistic disciplines, through friendly encounters with authors, their work and their universe.
A Festival available in six languages
For more than 20 years, the Festival has been cultivating an international dimension. In 1994, it reached across the Alps to forge links with Italy. A series of fruitful and enriching exchanges led to the creation of a close bond between the two cultures and their literature. Over the years, other partnerships were established, notably with Belgium, Spain, Germany, Romania, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Quebec, Burkina-Faso, the Maghreb and Nepal.
An international network has grown up progressively around the Festival, developing opportunities for exchanges and encounters between readers, authors, literary works and publishing professionals within the context of contemporary literary creation.
International network for the dissemination and promotion of literary debuts
Italy : Premio Città di Cuneo per il Primo Romanzo - Premio Calvino - Istituto italiano di Cultura, Lyon
Belgium: Bibliothèque publique, Mouscron
Spain : Institut Cervantès, Lyon
Germany : Literaturhaus Hamburg - Mara Cassens Preis - Goethe Institut, Lyon
Romania : Institut français de Iasi - Institut Culturel Roumain, Paris, FILIT, Iasi
United Kingdom : Desmond Elliott Prize
Quebec : Festival Metropolis Bleu - UNEQ - Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec
Burkina Faso : Association Chambéry Ouahigouya
Suisse: Salon du livre de Genève - Fondation pour l'écrit, Genève