Interview to Jean-Baptiste Passé, manager of the Festival du livre de Paris
Interview to Jean-Baptisté Passé, general manager of the Festival du Livre de Paris
by Paolo Grossi
- What is the outcome of this first edition of the Festival du livre de Paris?
It’s a real success! Three days of unstoppable flow. The Grand Palais Ephémère was packed with people and the Festival du Livre de Paris set a record for attendance at the Grand Palais Ephémère. We are therefore reporting 90,000 visitors, including those who have attended all the meetings organised in the Festival’s 15 satellite venues. Beyond the figures, the satisfaction is above all qualitative. The publishers, the invited authors and the public shared a beautiful collective emotion. If the venue, the scenography we have developed and the view of the Eiffel Tower are real assets, our success has been to place the book at the heart of the event, and everyone is grateful for that.
- Based on the experience gained, what improvements do you think could be introduced next year?
We have carried out this transformation in a very short time with a new team and an embryonic structure and tools. The twelve months that separate us from the next edition will allow us to make many adjustments and improvements. We are entering a debriefing phase with all the exhibitors who will help us to list precisely and in detail the points to be corrected. I would like to intensify the visibility of the publishing brands, to increase the density of the flying and centralised payment points and to increase the bibliodiversity by welcoming more publishers around this beautiful project.
- In 2023, Italy will be the guest of honour at the festival. How do you think the presence of Italian publishers can be adequately highlighted? In addition to the Festival spaces, do you think it would be possible to imagine off-site events, as is currently happening at the Turin Book Fair?
The presence of India was a success, despite the physical distance and health constraints, and it gives us hope for an even more fruitful partnership with the entire Italian publishing industry. First of all, we will have to find the best way to link up with the Italissimo Festival, which has been doing remarkable work for so many years and whose usual dates are very close to ours (21-22-23 April 2023). We will then work closely with the publishers via their AIE representatives. Finally, even though we have had very positive results from the extension of the Festival outside the Grand Palais Ephémère, I do not wish to create a third venue or an “off” dedicated to Italy. On the contrary, we want to work on hybridization, encounters, crossovers, and mixing so that this new edition allows the emergence of transalpine authors in France. I can’t wait to get started!