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Hélène Fischbach © Quais du Polar
Quais du Polar
Craig Johnson © Quais du Polar

Quais du Polar: Lyon holds its breath

Hélène Fischbach, Artistic Director of the Quais du Polar festival

The first weekend of April, Lyon welcomes the masters of crime fiction for the Quai du Polar festival. The 13th year of the festival promises a number of highlights, such as the theme "Europe, from East to West", and a full-scale investigation throughout the city's streets. 

Could you introduce Quais du Polar for us?

More than just a book show, QDP is a truly eclectic  event  that celebrates the crime novel through various forms of art, in conjunction with cultural attractions in Lyon. In addition to meetings and book signing sessions at the Palais du Commerce, we organise a series of film screenings, guided visits, such as a discovery tour of the Saint-Cyr-Au-Mont-d'Or national police academy, and a major investigation that leads participants all over the city.

How do we join in the investigation?

On Saturday and Sunday, you can pick up a log book at the Gallo-Roman Museum. The log plunges you into an investigation written by local author Christelle Ravey. It leads you on a hunt for clues around town, interspersed with performances by actors. The best detectives will be rewarded for their hard work!

What's special about the 13th year of the festival?

Among the 120 authors invited, we will be graced by the presence of big names such as Ron Rash, Donna Leon, Megan Abbott or Lisa Gardner (USA), or  Dror Mishani (Israel) and Qiu Xiaolong (Chine-USA)... ! 
Richard Price (USA), David Peace (Great Britain), Anthony Horowitz (Great Britain), and Arnaldur Indriðason (Iceland)... ! 
Previous years have focussed on regions such as northern Europe, Asia and North America, and this year we will focus on Europe, from East to West, with European authors such as Arnaldur Indriðason (Iceland), Zygmunt Miloszewski (Poland), Andriy Kokotukha (Ukraine), Boydan Teodorescu (Romania), Victor Del Árbol (Spain), Val McDermid (UK) et Philip Kerr (UK), Gila Lustiger (Germany). as well as authors from France such as Sandrine Collette, DOA, Michel Bussi,  Bernard Minier ou Olivier Truc...
The main topics will be gender, music, news and literature, or power and politics. 

Can Lyon be regarded as a centre of crime fiction?

Yes. There are some well-known and talented authors in Lyon, such as Olivier Barde-Cabuçon, Romain Slocombe, Christelle Ravey and Patrice Dard, who is carrying on the San Antonio series. In some of their books, readers can also discover Lyon in very original ways.

More generally speaking, a new crop of French authors is currently making a name for itself internationally, with its own signature: crime fiction with a "social" backdrop.

Her Lyonnais favourites:

Where's the best place to enjoy an andouillette and a quenelle?
We always take our authors to two excellent bouchon restaurants: the Café des Fédérations and Chez Paul, near the Hôtel de Ville.

Where's the best place for a romantic stroll?
Up  Fourviere Hill , and back down through its narrow streets… 

Where's the best place to meet "real" Lyonnais people?
In Lyon's bookshops, which make a real contribution to life here. 

Where's the best place to party?
To L'Absinthe on the slopes of Croix-Rousse hill.

Where's the best place to buy a souvenir of Lyon?
At the chocolate maker Voisin or in the indoor food market Halles Paul Bocuse , to bring back some local culinary treats!

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