MORGES Le livre sur les quais bookfair in Morges had a record breaking year. Over 40,000 people came to this annual literary festival, but this year more people participated in discussions, interviews, readings and film screenings; all the literary cruises were full; and more than 25,000 books were sold, far more than in previous years. Over 300 writers visited from all over the world, including 25 renowned English-speaking authors. The town was full of readers and writers talking about books, signing books, learning how to write them, all against the spectacular backdrop of Lake Geneva. Everyone enjoyed the glorious sunshine, and some even swam in the lake.
Discussions during events were lively and engaging. Nathan Filer and Sadie Jones spoke about family ties; Martin Sixsmith and Edward Girardet talked about world conflicts; Philipp Meyer and Don Pollock examined the nature of American novel; Andy McNab revealed his own psychopathic (but nonetheless good) nature; and Diccon Bewes and Jim Ring looked at Swiss history and the transformation we have seen from people’s difficult Alpine existence not so long ago. For Susan Tiberghien from Geneva Writers’ Group, who run very popular writing workshops during the festival, it was “another fabulous festival when it was great to discover how many people are keen to write in English.”
The festival has grown over the last five years, acquired the patronage of Unesco and masses of media coverage, and become an established event in the calendar of the French and Swiss ‘rentrée littéraire’. Linda Cracknell, one of this year’s guest writers, thinks Le livre sur les Quais is blessed with “best book festival scenery in the world.” And Douglas Kennedy praises it for “sublimity of a very ‘sympathique’ Swiss nature.” And even though we are often told nowadays that the publishing industry is in crisis, it was heart-warming to witness so many people, young and old, present at the event so joyously revelling in story-telling and book creating. The dates for the next year’s festival have already been announced: 4-6 September, 2015. And once again, the festival will focus even more on its clearly successful international approach. A la prochaine!