The 2015 Pulitzer Prize, star of the Amazing Travelers in Saint-Malo

American Anthony Doerr, whose last novel All the light we can’t seePulitzer Prize 2015, takes place in Saint-Malo, attracted crowds. Gaël Le Ny/Amazing Travelers

The 25th edition of the literary festival was held from May 23 to 25 in the corsair city, in the presence of the American Anthony Doerr and three ministers.

The Étonnants Voyageurs de Saint-Malo festival, which was held this weekend, celebrated its 25th anniversary with an ambitious line-up: 250 guest authors, 300 debates, 100 films screened, seven literary prizes, exhibitions etc Some 60,000 people jostled in the Saint-Malo city, a stable figure, while the Paris book fair in March welcomed “only” 180,000 visitors, a figure down 10%.

The crowds were such that the news site ActuaLitté evokes endless queues and too small rooms which forced enthusiasts to come several hours in advance to be sure of being able to attend the conference of their choice.

According to Weekly Booksthe big boss of the festival, Michel Le Bris, has struggled to balance the budget this year because of dwindling public funding, despite new private partners, including François Pinault. Michel Le Bris tried to make the three ministers who came to the festival aware of his cause. Annick Girardin, the Secretary of State for Francophonie, originally from Saint-Malo, and the Keeper of the Seals, Christiane Taubira, who, according to The Malouin country, was “very approachable” and “took time to chat and pose for photos with festival-goers.” The Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, also walked the aisles of the show in casual dress, during a short weekend by the sea. Above all, write that I am here discreetly. I did not want to warn any official» he asked the journalists of the Telegram.

Among the invited authors, the American Anthony Doerrwhose last novel All the light we can’t see (Albin Michel), Pulitzer Prize 2015, taking place in Saint-Malo, naturally attracted the crowds. Another American, Philip Meyerauthor of Sonwinner of one of the Festival’s prizes, was also a resounding success.

The range of writers present was varied: Russel Banks, Jonathan Coe, Alaa El Aswany, Kamel Daoud, Jérôme Ferrari, Mona Ozouf, Isabelle Autissier, Jean-Louis-Etienne, Gilles Lapouge, Boulem Sansal, Yvon Le Men, Michel Serres, Timothée de Fombelle, Jean Teulé etc.

Asked by The cross, the founder of the festival, Michel Le Bris, took stock of the twenty-five years of this literary event, a continuity that he had not envisaged in 1990: “The festival has, I believe, become a reflection on the state of the world. And all the more so today that the world has come particularly close to us last January: history is going back to basics, we are discussing the Republic and secularism, he said. Basically, men only ever fight for ideas, not for a 0.1% increase in the minimum wage. This is what we try to show, while remaining a non-political but literary festival, whose human dimension must be visible.»

Seven literary prizes were awarded:

Literature-World/AFD Prize to Simone Schwartz-Bart, The Ancestor in Solitude (Threshold) and Philipp Meyer, The son (Albin Michael)

Joseph Kessel Prize to Éric Vuillard, sadness of the earth (South Acts)

Seafarer Prize to Nicolas Cavaillès, Why the leap of whales? (The Ringer)

Nicolas-Bouvier Prize to Paolo Rumiz, Le Phare: Travel still (Hoebecke)

Amazing Travelers Prize to Sylvain Coher, North-northwest (South Acts)

Robert-Ganzo Poetry Prize to Valérie Rouzeau

Grand Prix of the imaginary to Christophe Lambert, No man is an island (I read)

The next Saint-Malo Étonnants Voyageurs festival will take place from May 14 to 16, 2016.

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The 2015 Pulitzer Prize, star of the Amazing Travelers in Saint-Malo