On 19-23 March, the Salon du Livre was held in Paris; it is the largest book fair in France and one of the largest in Europe. In 2015 it was visited by more than 200000 participants. Krakow UNESCO City of Literature, along with Wrocław European Capital of Culture 2016 were hosted there as special guests. The city was presented at a special stand with an area of 200 square metres. It was the largest presentation of Polish literature abroad in years.
At the Paris fair, nearly 40 meetings were held with the leaders of contemporary Polish art and culture world, including Joanna Bator, Olga Tokarczuk, Artur Domosławski, Mariusz Szczygieł, Wojciech Tochman, Iwona Chmielewska, Joanna Olech, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, Marek Krajewski, Ewa Lipska, Tomasz Różycki and Ryszard Krynicki, as well as dozens of other invited guests. Events drew the attention of large audiences that came to enjoy the range of Polish literature: novels, reportage, children’s books and illustration and the strong and unwavering tradition of Polish poetry and translation. The long list of authors and special guests was completed by distinguished Polish and European intellectuals, polonophiles and French specialists in Central European literature, like Yuri Andrukhovych, Norman Davies, Adam Michnik, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Sylvie Germain, as well as Roman Polański, who on the second day of the fair told crowds gathered at the Polish stand about the relationship between his films and literature, film adaptations and his latest production based on the story of Alfred Dreyfus. Polański also talked about Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Grotowski, Wisława Szymborska, Czesław Miłosz, Bruno Schulz, Polish-Jewish relations, the specifics of Central European identity, feminism and values.
The Polish bookstore at the stand, operated by the largest French chain FNAC, sold thousands of books. Our stand was also visited by representatives of the highest French authorities: French President François Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, as well as the culture ministers of France and Poland – Fleur Pellerin and Małgorzata Omilanowska, who signed important declarations concerning mutual cooperation.
About the Polish programme and presentation, as well as the originality of our stand, which distinguished itself from the stands of surrounding publishers, was commented on with delight by French publishers, media, as well as representatives of our diplomatic services, with the Polish Ambassador Andrzej Byrt at the head. Our presence was noted by leading French media, including “Le Monde”, TV5, “La Libération”, “L’Express”, “Le Nouvel Observateur”, “Le Figaro”, and RFI.