Friday, December 19, 2008

La Rentrée Littéraire

“La rentrée littéraire" is the literary phenomenon in France, occurring in the mid-August to mid-October time frame, when publishers release hundreds of new novels within a short period of time. The timing coincides with the generic meaning of “la rentrée” as the time in France when students and professionals return to work and school after summer vacations. The timing has important literary implications as well. Most of the prestigious French literary prizes (e.g., Goncourt, Renaudot) are awarded in the fall. By releasing books around this time, publishers attempt to best position their potential prize winners.

Although the fall rentrée littéraire remains the primary literary event on the French calendar, a smaller winter rentrée littéraire coinciding with the beginning of the year is taking hold. The Literary Saloon notes that this year’s winter rentrée littéraire is expected to result in the release of 558 novels, of which 347 are French and 211 are foreign. Approximately 680 novels were released during this past fall’s rentrée littéraire, so the winter rentrée littéraire is certainly catching up numbers-wise.

1 comment:

Dave from Read Street said...

That sort of event also highlights the importance of books in French culture. I recently visited my daughter, who was studying in Paris for the fall semester, and was overwhelmed by the number of bookstores around the city. There seemed to be one on every corner: general interest, art, architecture, you-name-it. It was wonderful to be in a place where reading and writing are prized. What happened in the U.S.?