French Literature in the USA : Rencontre des Auteurs Francophones
The Rencontre des Auteurs Francophones organization was launched in February 2020, with a goal of bringing contemporary French language literature to the American mainstream. The group brings together French-language authors from around the world to increase their awareness in the USA and provide a source of exchange between French-speaking writers and readers. These engagements take the form of online literary broadcasts as well as face-to-face events. In its first year, the organization has brought together over 160 authors from 25 countries now featured on its online platform and offers more than 200 selected books to US-based French language readers of all ages and literary genres.
Founder and French expatriate, Sandrine Mehrez-Kukurudz is an author and event producer in New York. Having moved from her native Paris in 2009, she was initially inspired to start the organization to support the needs of over 300,000 francophones in her adopted home of New York city alone who struggled to find local access to French language bookstores and authors. At the same time, she met many francophone authors in the United States who lacked visibility and felt she could do something about it by using her event producer experience to unite these authors and readers. The idea arose out of this mutual need and also satisfied her personal ambition to promote French literature in the USA.
Initially, Rencontre des Auteurs Francophones was a series of meetings, mini-salons of sorts, between authors and readers. Beginning with scheduled events in New York and Washington DC in early 2020 with additional plans to add Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston later in the year all was off to a great start. When the Covid pandemic caused the cancellation of public events, they had to continue this great dynamic by converting to an online format. They worked with their New York-based partner French Wink, to open an online bookstore and develop a bi-monthly emissions broadcast platform and blog series that united francophone authors and readers. They further extended their reach with their active Facebook and Instagram Rencontre des Auteurs Francophones groups as well.
The now weekly live broadcast interview series is a wonderful showcase for French writers and an exciting rendezvous for readers. On hiatus throughout the summer, broadcasts resume on September 1. The blog is a space of daily freedom, with the contribution of some twenty platform authors with news, articles, and thoughts of French-speaking writers offering a daily gift to lovers of literature. Their program of exciting face-to-face events for 2021/2022 kicked off on June 17 in New York. The entire schedule of upcoming virtual and physical events can be found on their website. Be sure to check it out. Bonne lecture et rencontre des auteurs Francophones !
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