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For the president of the Brive book fair, “being rebellious means saying: yes, I like to love!”

For the president of the Brive book fair, “being rebellious means saying: yes, I like to love!”

Charismatic, charming and passionate, the president of the fortieth edition of the Brive book fair, François Busnel, set the bar very high: “We will do everything to make this fortieth edition the best.”

An essential role

What is the role of the president of the fair?

That all that makes the charm of the Book Fair be there: writers, audience, gastronomy, good wines and poetry… Because the principle of this Fair is to show that there is no thickness of cigarette paper between the records. and life. Too often we think that on one side are writers and the world of culture, and then real life. Not at all. In Brive, it is perhaps the only place where writers and the audience meet in a rather fraternal dimension, where we manage to exchange ideas without there being any distance between them.

What will be your suggestions?

Meetings, small special ones, a great place for poetry and new voices, of those who will be great French writers in five, ten or fifteen years.

A haven in the middle of the hustle and bustle Francois Busnel is very attached to Brive and the Book Fair.

Why are you connected to Brive and the fair?

I have a very strong history with this city and the Fair for many very intimate reasons. They are like a refuge, a refuge in the middle of the hustle and bustle, literary awards and stories from publishers and cultural everyday life.

You have left the presentation of the show A large library. Does this chairmanship of the Fair feel a bit like the end of an important chapter in your life?

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No, because the book will continue to play an important role in my life, but in a very different way. I am not turning the page of literature. On the contrary, I’m opening a new one. I decided to leave the show because I am a big reader.

Literature taught me that life is too short to be small and that you have to follow your desires.

Francois Busnel (empty)

On the other hand, when your desires lead you to more ambitious things, in this case making films, feature films, there are things that are not compatible. The movie about Jim Harrison, Only earth is eternal, it took me seven years to do it. I couldn’t take another seven years to make another one.

Was it difficult to leave a TV show about literature, a program that has become a flagship?

I could go on A large library another fifteen years. It is very flattering and very pleasant to be wanted and desired. The show is doing very well, it is influential and prescribes a lot of books, the viewership is great. But I said to myself: what will happen in ten or fifteen years when you say to yourself, I could have made films, but I didn’t.

I have read too many great authors who tell us that reading teaches us to live, not just get up, miss a few dreams. I’m a dreamer, a brat, the guy by the radiator at the end of class reading while life goes by. I’m so elsewhere that now I want to tell stories.

Living means rolling the dice again and again, shaking the decor, questioning yourself, not settling down, becoming gentrified.

Francois Busnel (empty)

– I don’t want to become an old cheating host.

When Jacques Brel, who is a great poet, stopped touring, he said: “I do four concerts a week, fifty weeks a year. I am asked to do the same thing all the time. Me, I want to make movies. I don’t want to become a cheated old singer.”

Me, I don’t want to become an old cheating host. I am embarking on a new adventure and the decision to accept the position of President of Brive is less the closing chapter than the center. If I stay in the world of letters, I could say that I am a “pivot”, I go from the host of the show to the director. I never felt like a writer, it’s not my grammar. I’ve always been a reader. On the other hand, writing, shooting and editing a film is another grammar that fascinates me.

“Enthusiasm is more important than contempt”

Some have described you as too agreeable.

My idea is that enthusiasm is more important than contempt. That there is more to love in people than to criticize. About twenty years ago, we entered a society where, especially the media, taught us that we must be cynical, blasé, that we should not get carried away, that everything is nonsense. How do you want to prevent young people, who grow up surrounded by it, from being depressed.

I keep coming across young people, 15, 20, 25 years old, readers, who are in absolutely terrible eco-anxiety. When we ask them about the reasons for this state of affairs, of course the planet is behind it, but also the background noise that says that they were brought up with the idea that they no longer admire anything or anyone. Obviously, you can’t make people believe that there are new Rimbauds every day, but every day there are writers who stand up and give you ten, twenty, fifty pages worth of admiration and inspiration in two hundred pages. I think this society is suffocating in a lack of inspiration, a lack of admiration.

The president of the fair with general commissioner François David.
To be rebellious today means to say: Yes, I like to love, in a society that boasts that it no longer loves anyone, anything.

Francois Busnel (empty)

This society is in decline. The fall of the West is the absence of admiration. As Dostoevsky says: “We have art, so that we don’t despair because of the truth. And beauty will save the world.” We still need to be able to see it.

“A literary critic is one who knows everything.”

You have always defined yourself as an interviewer.

fourteen years, A large library he said: I don’t want to give you lessons, I don’t know what is good. I’m not a literary critic. I never was and I don’t want to be. A literary critic is one who knows everything. I am a journalist and interviewer. I am surprised, I am looking for explanations from those who know better.

I believe that by telling stories, not by creating grand theories, we move the world, we make the conscience waver. If tomorrow, for example, I tell you the reasons why global warming has been destroying the planet since 1830, I will be very boring. If I write The World Tree Richard Powers, I’ll have four million readers around the world saying, “Wow, amazing. Through the journey of 4-5-6 fictional characters, I understand the problems of today. This is a fascinating mystery of creation, of culture.

“Books are living and dangerous objects.”

How do you evaluate a literary text?

I need to be hit, hit. I also go to the cinema, the theater, the opera or the museum, and suddenly I get a shock. To be awake. For that you have to read slowly. To give your mind time to see the pictures, to be blown away by the style. I always read slowly, four or five books a week, no more. I always read with a pen in my hand.

What’s great is that the writer takes two lines to put into words the obsession you have in a kind of fog. In one sentence, he illuminates, he turns on the light, when it would take you years to turn around without understanding it. This is also the power of reading and literature. When I was preparing A large library, I really liked to look for bridges in reading, when one book speaks to another. Books are living and dangerous objects. At night, while you sleep, they talk to each other.

America, youth and Sylvain Tesson: the book fair in Brive (Corrèze) according to François Busnel

Interviewed by Dragan Perović; Photos by Stephanie Para

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