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Sylvain Tesson affair: the artistic director of Spring of Poets resigns in the midst of controversy

The controversy over the appointment of Sylvain Tesson as godfather of the next edition of Spring of Poets takes a new turn with the announcement, Friday morning, of the resignation of Sophie Nauleau, the artistic director of the event.

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Sylvain Tesson affair: the artistic director of Spring of Poets resigns in the midst of controversy

The controversy over the appointment of Sylvain Tesson as godfather of the next edition of Spring of Poets takes a new turn with the announcement, Friday morning, of the resignation of Sophie Nauleau, the artistic director of the event. In a press release, she explains that she “fully” accepts the choice of the writer as sponsor while deploring the “staggering, dismaying, not to say monstrous cabal” that the announcement triggered. “In this context, no words being audible, I preferred to reserve mine for silence,” writes Sophie Nauleau.

“To those who summon me to respond, I would remind you that I have devoted the last fifteen years, first on France Culture then to the Printemps des Poètes, to making the voices of poets of yesterday and in all their diversity heard. today, she adds. For those, if there are any, who want to know who I am or what I think, all they have to do is listen, for example, to Goethe's The Oak, a radio documentary made in the Buchenwald concentration camp.”

Also read: Petition against Sylvain Tesson: the incredible reversal of freedom of expression

The writer had been singled out in a column published in Libération and signed by “more than 1,200 poets, editors, booksellers, actresses and actors of the French cultural scene” opposing the decision to entrust him with the sponsorship of the next edition of the Spring of Poets, which will be held from March 9 to 25. According to the authors of the column, Sylvain Tesson represents a “reactionary icon” and a “leading figure of the literary extreme right”. “We refuse that a cultural event to which we are in fact inextricably linked in a symbolic way, created “in order to counter preconceived ideas and to make manifest the extreme vitality of poetry”, be embodied by a writer established as an icon reactionary,” they add. Since then, several personalities, notably politicians, including the Minister of Culture Rachida Dati, have come to his defense.

The 2024 edition of the Spring of Poets, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has the theme “Grace, in all its states, from the most sublime to that, brutal and definitive, which strikes you instantly”. The event, designed in 1999 by Jack Lang, has had as sponsors in recent years personalities as different as Jean-Marc Barr, Rachida Brakni, Sandrine Bonnaire, Marina Hands and Amira Casar. Coordinated by the association of the same name, the Spring of Poets is supported by the Ministry of Culture, the National Book Center and the Ministry of Education.

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