Senlis: with its salon and independent bookstores, the town stands out for its love of books
With no less than seven books in her arms, Isabelle takes her place in the queue to get her eighth signing. Lover of books, this resident of Senlis would not have missed for anything in the world the book fair organized this weekend in the heart of her city, in the prestigious setting of the Espace Saint-Pierre. “It is an initiative of the municipality, indicates Gwenaël Gouiffes, director of the library. We implemented this in association with the Saint-Pierre bookstore. »
For this first day, 35 authors responded to the organizers’ invitation. “We had carte blanche, explains Amandine Ardouin, director of the bookstore. The publishers trust us, which enabled us to obtain the arrival of Melissa Da Costa, 8th best-selling book, Philippe Besson, Monica Sabolo, Valérie Bonneton or Julia Minkowski. In 2018, this same bookstore innovated with the lounge “Under the cobblestones, the books”. “Bringing authors is what we do all year round in our bookstore, but by obtaining the Espace Saint-Pierre, we were really able to organize a large-scale event,” explains the bookseller. This fair should return every two years. »
Readers at the rendezvous
At the opening, this Saturday afternoon, more than 700 people passed through the doors of the show in the space of half an hour. Among them, Odile and Chantal. “A very long time ago, there was the Clio lounge, recalls Odile. It is true that they struggle in the bookstores of Senlis. We don’t have much, but we have this. Isabelle had checked off the date six months ago. “I’m a big reader but I waited to buy some books to have them signed here,” she says. It’s great for the city. The organizers do a lot of things for the book, they are very dynamic. She is not disappointed. “I had very good contact with the authors, with real exchanges, she welcomes. I discover some like Mélanie Da Costa. Despite the success, she plays the game and takes the time to chat. »
Same satisfaction among the authors. “It’s the first time I’ve had books signed and I love it,” launches Valérie Bonneton. Philippe Besson responded to the invitation of Gwenaël Gouiffes. “I’ve known her for 20 years, she was my student before working in publishing,” he says. Senlis is a beautiful town, that gave me two good reasons to come. People are benevolent and I like to meet those who read us, to put a face. » Julia Minkowski fell in love. “It’s a wonderful show in a majestic place,” she admits. I know that these are very committed booksellers who are on the initiative, I am very attached to these places of culture which allow readers to have advice and authors to have feedback. It is important to keep them alive. »
On Sunday, it will be the turn of local authors to have their works signed. “A trade show is always an opportunity for extraordinary encounters, insists Guy Vadepied. My latest books are still more about the Oise and maybe this will make visitors want to read a book about Mérua city they don’t know. »
Senlis, book fair, Espace Saint-Pierre, this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. FREE ENTRANCE.