I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

A Splash In My Puddle !


Isn't it funny how life throws things up at just the right time.

I was grumbling only just the other week that I feel a little bit cut off in Lyon when it comes to things literary. It's a great place to be inspired, but I do miss having a direct connection with other English-speaking writing types, festivals and the like.

Then, blow me down, a journalist friend in Paris sent me the wonderful news about an international festival taking place in Lyon from May 30 to June 3: The International Forum on the Novel. Yes! I am beaming! Finally, there is a splash in my puddle!

It's not just any old festival. There are some big names attending. Just to list a few: A.S. Byatt, John Banville, Ian McEwan, Russel Banks, André Brink, Rick Moody, Jonathan Coe, Tobias Hill, Nik Cohn, James Flint, Robert Dessaix, Ying Chen, James Meek, Dmitri Bykov, Jay McInerney, David Albahari, William Vollmann, Wei Wei and Donald Antrim. There are many others, but the list would get too long!

Over five days there will be round-tables, debates and readings involving all of the authors. The theme is "reality and the novel", with discussions on: "the family novel"; "the limits of the novel"; "I as primary matter"; "inventing the real"; "literature and trauma"; "pained soul, pained body"; "social sciences and earth sciences"; "document, inquiry, fiction"; and "confronting the reality of our characters".

The organisers are calling for volunteers to help look after the writers and carry out other chores during the festival, but I'm worried that would mean I wouldn't be free to attend the various events. Also, it would be just my luck to get placed with an absolute bore or someone who has terrible manners - this has happened before at a writing festival, but I won't mention any famous names!


Suzan Abrams, email: suzanabrams@live.co.uk said...

Hi Shameless,
Exciting news! Very exciting! And a big splash in your puddle indeed. :-)

My faves are A.S. Byatt & Ian McEwan!
Why do some topics sound so close to home? tee-hee!

You're right about the volunteering part. Like a librarian who's with books but always working...if you know what I mean. Whereas if you conserved your energy, you could enjoy a 100% of the festival. My view though. :-)

Unknown said...

How fantastic!
I often feel the same, Shameless. Cornwall is the home of the artist - a new gallery opens up every other week. Sometimes though there is a gem of an event that takes you by surprise - we are not forgotten!

cate sweeney said...

Hi Shamus
Volunteer! Maybe good for contacts who knows, you might get adopted.
And love the art work. There's no end to your talents is there?
I guess writing is your absolute favourite though. Do you ever worry about doing to many different things?
Best wishes

S. Kearney said...


Nice to hear from you. Yes, I'm still trying to decide about the volunteering thing. It might be nice to make contact with this centre where it's all happening ... and maybe there are other anglophone writers involved.

There's a meeting tomorrow night for possible volunteers; maybe I should just go along and see if volunteering means not being able to attend the debates and things.

And re doing too many things? You're right. I sometimes wonder about this. But I've always been like that ... Jack of all trades, master of none, as my father used to say. I can't change that though. It's just a matter of time management!? :)

S. Kearney said...


It was the same when I lived in Bristol for three years ... there was the odd great event there, but London always called!

S. Kearney said...

Hi all,

Someone just emailed me asking for a contact for this, so I thought I would leave the details here for others who might be interested.

This fourm is being organised by Villa Gillet in Lyon and their website is: www.villagillet.net
Click on the page that says: Les Assises Internationales du Roman.

For more info, the phone number is 0033-4-78270248.

The press information that I have is summarised in my post, but I also have the exact programme with times etc. This is not yet on the website, but I'm willing to send it by email to anyone who needs it. My email is seak@caramail.com

Debi said...

See? You're involved already!

Brush up your fur and whiskers, my friend. The world is coming to you.

S. Kearney said...


Finally, my feline existence will be revealed! :) No better place to do it than in front of Banville, McEwan and Byatt! What great material they will have for their next books!

I've decided not to be a volunteer, however. (The meeting for that is tonight). I want to just book myself into all the events and really enjoy myself.

I will nudge between people after the sessions though, to see if there are any local writing projects I can get involved in.

I hope no one notices that I'm snacking on cat biscuits between the literary high-talk.

Unknown said...

That is exciting news Shameless, glad for you. Sometimes you have to make an effort, and sometimes the effort comes right to your doorstep -nice for you! And at a warm time of the year too ;)


Unknown said...

Oh brilliant news, lucky thing. Banville is my absolute favourite. Am deeply envious!

We had our first ever book fair lat year down here in the Mugger City, home to that Andre Brink chap - it was such a treat. So great to mix with other writers and listen to those who've made it, even though, as you suggest, some are real bores! ;-)
No names mentioned, of course.

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful opportunity. Volunteering would be great!