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The Haitian Book Fair celebrates its tenth anniversary on the theme “Haiti and Europe”

Who would have thought that this modest book sale, on the sidelines of the annual exhibition of the Haiti Futur association, in a room on rue de l'Avre in the Grenelle district, would have become this great event, which celebrates today today its ten years in the large art deco style room of the town hall in the 15th arrondissement of Paris? (*).

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The Haitian Book Fair celebrates its tenth anniversary on the theme “Haiti and Europe”

Who would have thought that this modest book sale, on the sidelines of the annual exhibition of the Haiti Futur association, in a room on rue de l'Avre in the Grenelle district, would have become this great event, which celebrates today today its ten years in the large art deco style room of the town hall in the 15th arrondissement of Paris? (*).

Year after year, since 2014, and every first weekend of December, authors, whose number is constantly increasing, arrive from North America, Europe, Africa, the Antilles and of course Haiti. The organizers, who are expecting around two thousand people this year, are raising the bar ever higher by offering readers a wide choice. More than ten thousand works by authors, published in Europe, Canada and Haiti.

At a time when “the pearl of the Antilles” has been going through the darkest and most dramatic periods of its history for five years, literature represents a form of resistance. “Literature has never ceased to exist. Even in times of turmoil, literature is still there. It is perhaps the most stable thing in the country. It is a force that allows us to continue to exist and to believe that we can rebuild Haiti,” hopes Josette Bruffaerts-Thomas, the president of Haiti Futur.

The different themes addressed during the four round tables and two meetings are all opportunities to question the singularities of this country and its links with the rest of the world - this year “Haiti and Europe”. They are also open fields to address worrying subjects such as chronic political instability and the natural hazards which constantly strike this half of the island. With a quarter of its population living abroad, many in a situation of “forced exile” due to insecurity, Haiti faces enormous challenges for its future.

The guest of honor, Lyonel Trouillot, who has just published his 14th novel La Veilleuse du calvaire, published by Actes Sud, is one of the writers, who from within the country does not hesitate with others, to raise their voices to denounce those responsible for the current “chaos”. He will be surrounded by the globe-trotting visual artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest, with whom he wrote a work in homage to Jean Ferrat You could have lived a little longer, published by Bruno Doucey. The novelist Laurent Gaudé, author of Danser les ombres at Actes Sud, will also accompany Lyonel Trouillot during a round table devoted to his work, and moderated by Valérie Marin La Meslée.

Other exciting meetings will punctuate these two days. Notably the one with Louis-Philippe Dalembert, for his latest book A Roman History, by Sabine Wespieser. It will be led by Jean-Marie Théodat, lecturer at Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne University, and author of Fatras Port-au-Prince, published by Paroles. For his part, Professor Yves Chemla, holder of a doctorate on “The question of the other in the contemporary Haitian novel”, will question the exchanges between Haitian and European intellectuals since independence. Finally, the anthropologist Brice Ahounou will moderate a debate on "pictorial and photographic art in Haiti", with the art historian Carlos A. Célius, the writer Frantz Voltaire, founder of the International Documentation Center and Haitian, Caribbean and Afro-Canadian information (CIDICAH) and the Swiss psychotherapist Thedor Itten.

Frequented since its beginnings by the most talented writers, the Haitian book fair has built, over the years, a reputation built on its quality and professionalism. Around a hundred volunteers have been working since the start of the year to offer such a range of activities. These range from a craft display, to a poetry recital, to a demonstration of stick practice – a traditional martial art form. One of the highlights of the event is the Saturday evening concert, with the singer TiCorn accompanied by the famous traditional percussionist Atissou Loko.

As a prelude to the book fair, a Haitian week was organized by several associations, including a conference on Monday at the Condorcet campus on the theme “Sciences and development” carried by the Reflection and Action Group for a New Haiti (Grahn ). Whatever the weather outside, the crowd of Haitian literature and culture enthusiasts will undoubtedly be there for this wonderful book festival.

*Haitian Book Fair, Saturday December 2 and Sunday December 3, 15th arrondissement town hall, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. www.salondulivrehaitien.com

Founded in 1994, Haïti Futur is a Franco-Haitian association which wants to work for quality education in Haiti, support entrepreneurship in rural areas and promote Haitian culture.

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