French Book Week, 13-17 July

French flash mobs to take the internet by storm: French Book Week is announced, 13-17 July 2020

Literally Swiss, the European Literature Network and Pro Helvetia are delighted to announce French Book Week, an online forum dedicated to French literature, translation and publishing in the UK. Running from Monday 13th to Friday 17th July, this is the first such focus of its kind, creating a virtual showcase for one week for the promotion of French prose and poetry in the UK.

Ambitious in its scope and form, the response has been overwhelming: embassies, universities, institutes, publishers, booksellers, translators, writers and poets have all stepped up to collaborate in what will be an eclectic, inspiring and informative programme. 

Why now? French literature is the most widely published of all translated literature in the UK, and it has enjoyed a boom period under lockdown. But still our knowledge of French books in this country is limited and focused on France and “the big names”. French Book Week aims therefore to be all-embracing and also to focus on the lesser known French literatures, integrating them into an online community for all French writers, translators, readers and publishers. Next week Bastille Day is celebrated, and then from 20th-24th July French is a featured language at UEA’s British Centre for Literary Translation summer school, taking place for the first time virtually, and led by prize-winning Swiss French novelist Pascale Kramer and translator Adriana Hunter.

Hosted by Literally Swiss UK and the European Literature Network on their website, and supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, each day of French Book Week will have a different theme: Authors’ Monday (13th), Translators’ Tuesday (14th), Reviewers’ Wednesday (15th) with a heads-up on some untranslated debuts, Poets’ Thursday (16th) and Publishers’ Friday (17th). French-linked publishers, booksellers, organisations, translators, authors and enthusiasts are using the week and media platforms to showcase their own books and work.

Anyone can join in at any point on the relevant day using the hashtag #FrenchBookWeek. Content will range from live and recorded interviews, seminars, authored pieces, podcasts, original commissioned postgrad research, reviews and showcases.

The culmination point is the first ever online Swiss Publishing Seminar at 15:00 BST on Friday 17th July, hosted by Publishers Without Borders, when leading publishers from the UK and Switzerland discuss the pain and pleasure of translation and publishing from a small multilingual country.  

Rosie Goldsmith, originator of #FrenchBookWeek and Director of European Literature and Literally Swiss, commented:

“This is the time for Big Ideas.  In the translated book world our funds, festivals, publications and book sales are in jeopardy.  We must come together with new and original ways of collaborating.  My love of French language and literature, its many shapes, forms and origins, is my starting point.”

Spread the word, join in and will see you next week:

For all media enquiries, please contact: Nikki Mander at Mander Barrow PR Ltd:; 07813 806297

Monday 13th July Focus on SWISS FRENCH AUTHORS

Dedicated to Pascale Kramer and other Swiss French authors.

The launch of a “Riveting Interview” with Pascale and short Zoom interview profiles with as many other Swiss French authors as can be possibly lined up. Also launching is a piece François von Hurter, Bitter Lemon Press, on Jacques Chessex (RIP) and a few other Swiss French greats we should remember.

Tuesday 14th July Focus on FRENCH TRANSLATION

A “Riveting Interview” with Adriana Hunter will headline the day, a British translator of French literature who has translated dozens of French novels, she will be followed by some of the participating translators who will be taking part in the BCLT Summer School.

A podcast with Sarah Bower, manager of the National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorship Programme, and mentor Sarah Ardizzone.

And contributions from Ros Schwartz, translator of Max Lobe (whose book, Far from Douala, will publish in 2021 with Hope Road), Aneesa Abbas Higgins (translator of Elisa Shua Dusapin), Frank Wynne and Roland Glasser.


Headlining this will be a focus on as yet untranslated Swiss-French novels, and some debuts that UK publishers should place on their radars.

An array of reviews by an assortment of figures of French novels.

Thursday 16th Focus on FRENCH POETRY

Extracts, profiles and some readings from French poets (Linn Molineaux, Baptiste Gaillard, Clea Chopard, Anna Serra, Landa Wo, Philippe Jaccottet, Eugene Guilevic, Jules Supervielle, Gerard Mace, Yves Bonnefoy, Arthur Rimbaud and others).

Friday 17th Focus on PUBLISHING

A video presentation by with Ulysses Roche, UK postgrad student at Oxford Brookes mentored by Rosie Goldsmith, unveiling his research about French books in translation in the UK.  This will be the first ever specifically dedicated survey/study to French fiction publishing in the UK. 

Interview with Myriam Lang of the SBVV, the Swiss Publishers’ Association.

And ‘Publishers Without Borders’ will host a Swiss publishing seminar – a general overview, focusing on translation and also how the industry is coping around Covid. Emma House and Rosie Goldsmith will lead participants Yannick Stiassny from Editions Zoe, François von Hurter of Bitter Lemon Press and Juliet Mabey of Oneworld Publications. This will look at Swiss Publishing and Authors as well as the British perspective about the market for translated literature and more.

Notes to editors:

Social media:




The week is being driven by the French translation workshop week at BCLT Summer School (20–24 July) where Swiss author Pascale Kramer will be the featured author, with the workshop led by translator and teacher Adriana Hunter (this workshop is funded by Pro Helvetia). There will be 10 emerging French translators participating in the workshop.

The Swiss Riveter (the whole magazine was published in print and online – and each article exists online).

Videos produced by London Video Stories

About European Literature Network:

The European Literature Network’s principal mission is to help promote international literature among a broader audience of England and to support other groups working in this area. This is carried out via networking meetings for industry members. ELNet is free, voluntary & independent and open to all publishers, agents, translators, festival directors, arts managers, journalists and writers who are serious about promoting European Literature. It is a fabulous opportunity to meet everyone, discuss what people are up to and network.

About PWB:

Publishers Without Borders is a new Facebook network of global publishers, agents, literature professionals, trade associations and fair and festival organisers who all share a passion for books. Formed during the Covid19 pandemic in order to share best practices, experiences, challenges and opportunities online, the group has grown organically and facilitates interaction and fun in these difficult times. PWB also organises live events and sessions related to various publishing activities.

PWB was founded by Emma House, Simon de Jocas and Prashant Pathak.

Category: News and EventsNewsFrench Book Week


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