Radio: Will “The French-speaking bookstore” disappear?

Will “the French-speaking bookstore” disappear?

Published today at 4:20 p.m.

Stirring on social networks and in literary circles. Last week, French journalist Emmanuel Khérad, presenter and producer of “La livre francophone” on France Inter, also broadcast on RTS La Première, confirmed the cancellation of his show, mentioned in articles in “Le Monde” and “Télérama”. . A decision taken “against his will”, the announcement of which comes in a context of crisis at France Inter, following the layoff of Guillaume Meuricefollowed by a strike last Sunday, with a parallel reshuffling of programs announced for September.

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The show brings together authors and booksellers from France, Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland every week. Geneva houses such as Librairie du Boulevard, Atmosphère and Delphica regularly participate.

The announcement of the cancellation of the show caused quite a stir. Fans of the program read about the loss of one of the rare radio slots dedicated to literature. And the only one that brings to life the plurality of literatures in the French language, since the program co-produced by Les Médias francophones publics is broadcast by France Inter and RTS La Première, but also the first channel of RTBF, and ICI Première Radio-Canada, but also in Africa, America and Haiti.

More than 400 writers and personalities from the literary world, including Marie NDiaye, Atiq Rahimi, Bartabas, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Sorj Chalandon and Jean-Christophe Rufin, have published a tribune last Saturday where they expressed their shock and concern at the announcement of the disappearance of the show.

“Need for renewal”

The RTS wants to be reassuring: “The show is not disappearing. After eighteen years, the program needed renewal, notably through a change of casting,” explains Ambroise Jolidon, anchor at La Première. If France Inter is the manager of the weekly meeting, the decision to refresh it was taken a few months ago by all the members of the French-speaking public media. La Première has even less intention of skipping this program as it is cheap compared to an in-house production, the costs being shared between the co-producers.

What will this new version actually look like? “We don’t know yet. Nor if it will keep the same name. Adele Van Reeth (editor’s note: director of France Inter) is working with its teams on a proposal that we will receive around mid-May.” Ambroise Jolidon nevertheless assures that the DNA of the meeting will be maintained: “A program dedicated to French-speaking literature with in particular French-speaking authors and French-speaking booksellers.”

With broadcast on La Première a priori at the same time: Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., where the meeting brings together an average of 18,000 people, with a 20% market share. “Which is very good,” appreciates the manager. On France Inter, the show has even progressed in recent years, Emmanuel Khérad also noted in April that it was “No 1 in France at its broadcast time. Throughout the French-speaking world, it brings together some 3 million listeners on average.

So why change a winning formula? “It’s when everything is going well that we must dare to change. We cannot allow ourselves to notice a weariness of the public, which occurs we do not really know why. We need to anticipate drops in interest,” motivates Ambroise Jolidon.

Appreciated by authors

Appreciated by the public, the meeting is also appreciated by local authors. Julien Sansonnens, invited in March for his novel “Agnus Dei”, released by Éditions de l’Aire, welcomes the increased visibility proposed, first in the direction of Paris. “I like the fact that this program brings together an entire community interested in books. Let’s hope that this concept of talking about literature that is done elsewhere than in France and Paris remains.”

Le Romand also notes “a good mix between headliners and a scouting dimension”. In recent months, the essential Joël Dicker has been among the Swiss guests, but also Pascale Kramer, Joseph Incardonaor Emilie Boré and the designer Vincent for their children’s book “Jean-Blaise Falls in Love”, without forgetting Joan Suris for her first novel “Life and Work of Marcel Parnaan”, published by the small house Presses Inverses, in Prilly.

Conducive to beautiful encounters

Invited twice, in 2013 and 2018, the Jura resident Thomas Sandoz, who published “Wooden cross, iron cross” Or “The Walk of the Lost», underlines that the sincerity of the booksellers and the diversity of the genres presented contribute to the richness and uniqueness of the program. He also appreciates an element that was a requirement of Emmanuel Khérad: recording “on set” at the Maison de la Radio in Paris, conducive to great encounters. “This is how I met Pascal Ory, not yet an Academician, whom I then welcomed with a group during a visit to La Chaux-de-Fonds.”


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Caroline Rieder has been a journalist in the culture-society section since 2013. She deals in particular with French-speaking literature, but also looks with interest at children’s literature, and various cultural and societal subjects. More informations @caroline_rieder

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