06 Jun Sr Agent Chrys attends the 2023 Paris Book Market
By Chrysothemis Armefti — Article first published in June 2023
Senior agent Chrysothemis Armefti traveled to Paris at the end of May to meet with French publishers and participate in international meetings at the Paris Book Market.
The second edition of the Paris Book Market was a fantastic opportunity to travel to Paris and meet with French and international publishers. it was the perfect moment to be in Paris: wonderful spring weather, happy publishers, and I was just in time for the presentations of the rentrée littéraire, France’s literary season that takes place in late August each year when all the “heavyweights” are published.
I had three full days of meetings in Paris with French publishers of all genres, who were all enthusiastic about their forthcoming books of the rentrée littéraire, or the successes they’ve had so far this year. They were happy about the return of sunny days and were generally interested in our titles. Some trends and editorial programs are changing, some publishers are moving towards more literary titles and narrative non-fiction, while others are shifting to a more commercial direction with romance and fantasy titles. Following a couple of difficult years for debut authors and literary fiction in general, French publishers are again very interested in original or even experimental literary titles, strong young voices from different backgrounds. Overall, upmarket and more accessible fiction is always in need, historical or otherwise -targeting mostly female readers-, as well as more literary standalone crime fiction, cozy crime, and thrillers. In terms of non-fiction, French publishers are looking into narrative non-fiction, books by personalities or well-known figures, and scientific or specialized subjects not treated by French authors.
Organized by the Bureau International de l’Édition Française (BIEF), the Paris Book Market took place on June 1st & 2nd at the Galerie Joseph in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. The BIEF celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, which made this edition extra special. The fair consisted of two particularly intense days: over 250 foreign publishers from 50 countries attended this second edition, meeting with well over 100 representatives of French publishers, agencies, and literary scouts.
A lot of the foreign editors who were attending were francophones and francophiles, and I garnered a lot of interest in the forthcoming rentrée littéraire titles from our French clients. It also provided an opportunity to meet with editors Marleen and I had not had the chance to meet previously this spring, during our trips to Bologna, London, Amsterdam, Thessaloniki, and Turin. Despite their enthusiasm and interest in new literary voices, editors are increasingly careful in their choices and decisions. In general, they are waiting to see which rentrée littéraire titles will be highlighted in the press, or which titles have already started moving in Europe. A good example is Benoît Coquil’s Petites choses (Rivages), which was sold at auction in Germany, Spain, and Italy, and which we represent in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries.
Overall, the atmosphere was extremely positive, publishers were eager to receive material and read, even if their reading list after the other spring fairs is already quite long. French participants and foreign editors had 30-minute back-to-back meetings, followed by cocktails, rentrée presentations, and work dinners. We all had busy schedules but were full of enthusiasm!
After a week full of meetings with French and international publishers, I also had some time to explore Paris. Now I’m back at my virtual office in Cyprus, ready to start scheduling for Frankfurt!