Signed, Seen and Just Missed: Morges 2015

I couldn’t resist the siren call of the literary festival in Morges called Le Livre sur les Quais this weekend, although I should have been working and packing for an upcoming business trip. But who can resist a boat trip on Lake Geneva in the company of the wise and witty Tessa Hadley?

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Watching chateaux and villas (usually invisible from the road) sliding smoothly by in all their glory, while listening to fellow writers from the Geneva Writers Group reading from their latest book (there were more people than that at the readings, but I forgot my camera and was late to remember my mobile phone). The full list of authors reading (with links to the books they were reading from): Lesley Lawson-Botez, Ellen WallaceKatie Hayoz, Massimo Marino, Olivia Wildenstein, Nancy Freund, Gary Edward Gedall, Peter St. John, Daniela NorrisSusan Tiberghien and Leonie van Daalen, who was also celebrating her 63rd wedding anniversary onboard.

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The tent where books, authors and readers meet each other was constantly full, even at lunch time, but I forgot to take pictures of the authors I did get to see.

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To arouse your envy, here’s a short list of authors I spoke to (some of them I also got to see later in panel discussions): Christos Tsiolkas, Ben Okri, Petina Gappah, Michelle Bailat Jones, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Dinaw Mengestu. And not just English-speaking ones: Yasmina Khadra, Alain Mabanckou, Metin Arditi, Romain, Slocombe, Gregoire Delacourt, Joseph Incardona (who actually remembered me from last year – I was very flattered). The pictures I did remember to take at the panel discussions are not very good, unfortunately.

Christos Tsiolkas and Gabriel Gbadamosi.
Christos Tsiolkas and Gabriel Gbadamosi.
Ben Okri, Petina Gappah and Dinaw Mengestu from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia/Midwest Unites States respectively.
Ben Okri, Petina Gappah and Dinaw Mengestu from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia/Midwest United States respectively.

Sadly, I did not get to see any of the Greek writers who were the guests of honour at the festival: Petros Markaris, Ersi Sotiropoulos, Yannis Kiourtsakis, Takis Theodoropoulos. Nor did I have enough time to go back to the tent and meet the following authors who are very much on my TBR list: Peter Stamm, Emilie de Turckheim, Sophie Divry, Mathias Enard, Hadrien Laroche.

In its sixth edition now, the festival is becoming perhaps just a little too big to be able to see everyone and attend all the sessions you would want (many of the most interesting ones were concurrent). To me, however, it’s an unmissable event in my annual literary calendar. And when the sun comes out, it’s even more beautiful.

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A good book haul ensued as well – all with rather lovely dedications. Meanwhile, a little part of Morges will be accompanying me on my business trip: Michelle Bailat-Jones’ ‘Fog Island Mountains’ will be coming with me to Japan, where it is set.

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25 thoughts on “Signed, Seen and Just Missed: Morges 2015”

    1. And it’s a pleasure to see that writers you admire are equally as delightful in person… I’ll have to read more of Tessa Hadley, I’ve only read one book so far. Her latest (The Past, just out, which she read from) sounds great!

  1. It all sounds so marvelous, Marina…the gorgeous setting, the wonderful readings, the meet and greet, and the new books purchased! I can dream 🙂

  2. Great line-up, and such a diverse range of writers, too. I’ll be very interested to hear your thoughts on Fog Island Mountains as it’s been on my radar for a while. Hope you have a good trip to Japan.

    1. Thank you – yes, quite a diverse range of writers, from the popular and non-fiction to the literary and noir. There was a large children’s section too. I look forward to Fog Island Mountains, I’ve always enjoyed Michelle’s writing.

    1. I’m in the middle of it and am very intrigued by the picture it paints of Australia as a class society, the casual racism as well, the ambivalent attitude towards one’s own family and background. He spoke very movingly about having to escape from his family and culture first, before he began to appreciate the value of tradition – so in many ways perhaps a similar journey to Danny. I did think the ‘giving up everything’ because of one failure was a bit extreme, but the fall-out from that is well described.

      1. Not an athlete here–but I could well imagine dumping everything–one’s family, home and country after what happened to Danny. I think there would have to be an incredible feeling of shame-almost as though you’d want to dump your identity and establish another.

    1. Tha panel was hilarious, by the way: Ben and Petina were playing off each other’s words and Dinaw was hard put to get a word in edgeways (but when he did, it was a good word). They had a lot of energy and bright thinking.

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