Houellebecq “tired”, authors under police protection… Forty years of the Brive book fair in ten anecdotes

Houellebecq “tired”, authors under police protection… Forty years of the Brive book fair in ten anecdotes

That year the team Charlie Hebdo celebrates its 20th anniversary at the fair. Charb, Cabu, Wolinski, Riss and Luz are already under protection, a year after the offices of the weekly were set on fire with a Molotov cocktail.

“At the same time, under the Brassens hall, we met with Valérie Trierweiler, who was still the companion of President Hollande, the Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti and the Charlie designers, remembers the chief commissioner at the time. , Guillaume Delpiroux. There were almost more policemen than authors! »Wolinski and Charb, at the Brive book fair, 2012


Mélenchon finishes on foot

Three years ago, one of the Fair’s volunteer drivers, Claude Tapie, who proudly expressed his devotion to Jean-Louis Debré, who became a family friend, told us that in 2010 he had to transport the current head of the French Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. We don’t know who started it, but a political discussion started in the car, which quickly heated up. So much so that Jean-Luc Mélenchon had to do the last part of the route… on foot!

in 2006


The “heated” meeting between Doctor Gyneco and Christina Angot, on the trail of Cardi, is one of those stories that fuel the legend of the Book Fair. The relationship between the singer and the author began on the Brive dance floor. Witnesses recall a “fusion” encounter that Christine Angot then described in her book Le marché des amants.

in 2009

Awesome Mimie Mathy

Jacques Veyssière, the long-time president of the GIE bookstore of the Fair, recalls the influx that caused the arrival of Mimie Mathy. The heroine of the series Joséphine Guardian Guardian came to sign Mimi, tell me. “She sold almost a thousand books! There were so many people that we had to organize a queue. Legend even says that she signed more tributes than Jacques Chirac!

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on the wrong road

The book train leaves Gare de Lyon at 9:31 am, as scheduled. But passengers quickly realize there is a problem. “I was with François Busnel and Delphine de Vigan when we saw the Villeneuve-Saint-George panel,” says François David, the Fair’s newly appointed chief commissioner. “Don’t laugh, there was an error on the switch,” reports the controller. We have to go back. “One author was in a panic, because she imagined that another train would hit us. We had to convince her,” recalls François David. Finally, the book train arrived in Brive two hours late!

in 2014

The Caterpillar by Jean Teulé

The president of the fair in 2014, Jean Teulé, left his mark on the edition during the weekend but also during… the evening. In Cardinal, the author launched an unforgettable… caterpillar in a box. He was followed by Julien Lepers and Frédéric Beigbeider. The latter then also passed behind the deck for a few minutes. With, it is said, questionable success.

in 1998

Houellebecq rôti

This is the year Michel Houellebecq published his Elementary Particles. And his only visit to the Foire de Brive is remembered. Upon arrival, the writer is already far from sober. “It was his great debut, but the Book Train was fatal for him,” recalls an old guest of the Fair. Now the Train is nice, but in the nineties some people came very tired…” So here is a great writer who finds himself completely drunk signing his novel. As he smokes, he continues his swing, a glass of alcohol in hand. Some readers remember coming back to him because they couldn’t decipher the dedication, which sometimes had a cognac stain: he obviously had a hard time reading it!

in 2013

Proust and Rochefort

That year, Jean-Paul and Raphaël Enthoven, dictionary authors in love with Marcel Proust, hosted an evening at the theater. Jean Rochefort takes part in it, but he prefers to read Verlaine, throwing out the unforgettable “Proust makes me angry”. The Enthovens will spend the evening trying to convince him otherwise. “An exceptional moment, interrupted time”, we still remember.

in 1998

Jean D’O on the phone

If there’s a place where writers have been gathering for 40 years, it’s Chez Francis. One year even Jean D’Ormesson, the first president of the Book Fair, answered the phone. “He was eating at the table in front of the bar. The phone rang, but we were too busy to answer, says Francis Teyssandier. He started, “Hello, this is Chez Francis, this is Jean D’Ormesson, yes, yes, I assure you… I will accept your reservation.” »


Brive, under the sunlight

In 2018, Gilbert Montagné played the piano at the restaurant Truffe Noire, which looked like Saint-Germain-des-Prés for the traditional and now famous “Choir” evening of the publishing house Flammarion. In the program? Forty-five great classics of French song, with printed verses, covered in chorus by Delphine de Vigan, Samuel Le Bilhan, Catherine Ceylac, Alain Mabanckou, Arthur H or even Thierry Beccar. A stopped moment marked in memories.Gilbert Montagné set the atmosphere at the Black Truffle on November 10, 2018 in Brive.

Editorial office of La Montagne in Brive

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