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35th Book Fair in Paris

Krakow and Wrocław: two Pole cities invited 

 

The 35th Book Fair in Paris will occur on March 20th to 23rd 2015. Two Pole cities will receive tribute: Krakow and Wrocław. This will be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the relationship between the French-speaking community, literature and the Eastern countries.  

 

Krakow and Wrocław are guests of honour in the Paris Book Fair  

In addition to Brazil, two Pole cities are invited to the Book Fair 2015: Krakow and Wrocław, have respectively been awarded City of Literature by the UNESCO in 2013 and European Capital of Culture for 2016. Twenty-two Pole writers, publishers and the French-Pole filmmaker Roman Polanski will attend this major cultural event.

Here is the programme: round tables, dedication sessions, conferences, etc. This is a great opportunity for the 200,000 expected visitors to discover Polish literature in all its diversity. But also to understand the historical and deep bounds that link France to Eastern Europe.

 

The historical role of Francophonie in Eastern Europe 

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Francophonie (French-speaking community) in Eastern Europe has deep roots in intellectual and political communities: in the 18th century, Prussian Frederick II wrote and spoke in French, the language of elites.  

French experimented a revival during the times of Nazi and communist censorships in the 20th century. Authors who were forbidden to publish in their own countries, like Polish writers Witold Gombrowicz and Czeslaw Milosz, have had the opportunity to be read through their French translations. Other writers like the Czech Milan Kundera or the Russian Andrey Makine even chose to adopt French as their literary language.

 

Circulating Polish literature in France 

Today, many Eastern Europe countries are active members of the l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie (International Organisation for Francophonie). French is still a strong symbolic heritage there. Its learning continues to occupy an important place in educational and cultural systems of these countries, particularly in Rumania and Moldavia.

But even though major French authors are well read in Poland, Polish literature is much less well known in France. This is a gap that the 35th Book Fair will try to close.