World literature drops anchor in Saint-Malo
The watchword of May 1968 was “Beneath the cobblestones – the beach”, but the Étonnants Voyageurs might choose as its motto “Above the cobblestones – the book”. The idea for this festival was conceived one day in May 1990, by Breton writer and philosopher Michel Le Bris. Not that every book that holidays on the beach at Saint-Malo each year is as thick and unwieldy as a cobblestone. Year in, year out, the corsairs’ home port is transformed into a literary fortress, and long may it be so! It is a fabulous Tower of Babel, where book-lovers from all over the world can meet their favourite writers. And, sink or swim, visitors to this international book festival take a perverse pleasure in being battered by the flow of words or diving into the depths of a good book. Publishers great and small are always on deck, at their posts and ready to play their part in this intoxicating bookfest. Famous authors do their best to respond to the thousands of requests for dedications. There are literary prizes (Joseph Kessel, Ganzo, Prix des Gens de mer, Prix de l’Imaginaire, etc.), films, shows, exhibitions and round table discussions. If you can read between the lines you will have got it already: whatever the chosen theme (Russia in 2010 for example), this is a place where literature is definitely your travelling companion.