BIBLIOTOPIA, week-end des littératures autour du monde

From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 June 2021

Discover new perspectives with this fourth edition of BIBLIOTOPIA festival, the weekend of literature from around the world!

Listen to stories from elsewhere, enjoy unbridled imaginations – prepare to be surprised and challenged to question the status quo. We will explore this year’s theme of change together with the following writers:

Franck Bouysse * Jorge Comensal * Sasha Filipenko * Thomas Flahaut * Amin Maalouf *Nastassja Martin* Susana Moreira Marques * Andrés Neuman * Maxim Osipov * Frédéric Pajak * Adania Shibli * Karine Silla * Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
and the musician Theo Hakola


The fourth edition of Bibliotopia, the festival of world literature, will take place on the weekend of the 4th-6th June online.
Writers, artists, journalists, and interepreters will gather in Montricher to take part in ten literary conversations and a concert of poetic rock, which will be screened live from the Jan Michalski Foundation. The latest Covid related restrictions still limit the number of people in our auditorium to only half of its capacity, so we are sharing these events with you online – both live and available afterwards.

You are welcome to ask questions to the invited writers:
*directly during the event, by sending a message on WhatsApp at +41 79 926 42 51; 
*before the event by sending it to
Thank you for clarifying which writer you are directing your question to.
Enjoy the festival, and the weekend of literature from around the world!



Click on each event for more details.

Friday 4th June

6.30 pm – Interview with Amin Maalouf
Reinventing Society: Hope and Apprehension
Moderated by Oriane Jeancourt Galignani
FR trans. EN

8 pm – Interview with Adania Shibli
Excavating the Language: Fragments and Silences
Moderated by Daniel Medin
EN trans. FR

Saturday 5th June

11 am – Sasha Filipenko and Maxim Osipov in conversation
Chronicling Post-Soviet Society
Moderated by Nadia Sikorsky
RU trans. FR

1.30 pm – Jorge Comensal and Susana Moreira Marques in conversation
Life Interrupted: On Disease and Mortality
Moderated by Daniel Medin
EN trans. FR

3 pm – Amin Maalouf and Karine Silla in conversation
Reversing the Gaze: Writing about Africa and the Middle East
Moderated by Oriane Jeancourt Galignani
FR trans. EN

4.30 pm – Franck Bouysse and Thomas Flahaut in conversation
From Countryside to Factory: Exploring Social Change
Moderated by Salomé Kiner
FR trans. EN

Sunday 6th June

11 am – Interview with Andrés Neuman
Reconstructing Ourselves: Confronting Memory and Trauma
Moderated by Daniel Medin
EN trans. FR

1.30 pm – Interview with Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
Literature in the Shadow of History
Moderated by Salomé Kiner
FR trans. EN

3 pm – Interview with Frédéric Pajak
Inventing New Ways of Writing
Moderated by Françoise Jaunin
FR trans. EN

4.30 pm – Interview with Nastassja Martin
Another Way of Living: Learning From Shamans and Bears
Moderated by Anne Laure Gannac
FR trans. EN

6pmConcert Theo Hakola
Water Is Wet
accompanied by Bénédicte Villain (violin), Delphine Ciampi-Ellis (bass), Matthieu Texier (guitar) and Fabrice La Croix (drums)

Interpreters from English to French and from French to English: Starr Pirot and Alia Rahal
Interpreters from Russian to French: Elena Ourjoumtseva andcKatia Tsaregorodtseva



Franck Bouysse is a French writer. Grossir le ciel (2014) was an enormous critical success, and his most recent novel, Buveurs de vent (Albin Michel, 2020) was awarded the Prix Jean Giono. His books often look at recent changes in rural France, the beauty and the darkness of nature and the countryside.



Jorge Comensal is a Mexican writer and journalist. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Nexos, VICE, and The Literary Review, and he is also part of the Environmental Board of Este País. His first novel, The Mutations (2016), a tragicomedy dissecting the experience of cancer and its effects on families and society, was a critical and international success. 


Sasha Filipenko is a Belarusian writer and journalist who writes in Russian. He is the author of five novels translated in different languages, as in French: Croix rouges (2018), which explores memories of Soviet system, will be published in English in 2021, while La traque (2020) describes the hounding of a journalist who has been investigating a politician.


Thomas Flahaut a novelist and scriptwriter, was born in Monbéliard in Doubs, France, and now lives in Bienne. Both his novels look at the experiences of factory workers now and in the past. The second one, Les nuits d’été, (2020), inspired by his own experience of work in the bernese Jura, describes the problems and expectations of young people working in a factory.


Theo Hakola, born in Spokane, WA, is a composer, musician, singer, actor and writer. He has lived for the last forty years in Paris where he founded the bands Orchestre Rouge and Passion Fodder. Last year he released his eighth solo album – Water Is Wet which consists of ten ballads of organic rock. Alongside his work in theater and film, he’s published five novels in France; the last one Idaho Babylone (Actes Sud) came out in 2016.


Amin Maalouf is a writer and journalist, and a member of the Académie française. Born in Beirut, he now lives in Paris. His work, characterized by a deep humanism, spanning cultures and continents, has been translated into fifty languages. His most recent bestselling book to be published in English is Adrift; How our World Lost its Way (2020).


Nastassja Martina French author and anthropologist, who has studied the Gwich-in people of Alaska and the Even people of the Kamchatka Peninsula. In the Eye of the Wild (to be published in 2021) tells the story of her nearly fatal run-in with a bear while conducting research in Russia and of the aftermath of the event, of the wounds she took away from it but also of a rebirth in spirit and mind and a new approach of living with animals and nature.


Susana Moreira Marques is a writer and journalist, who lives in Lisbon. Now and at the Hour of Our Death (2012), a record of her travels with palliative care professionals to remote corners of Portugal, is partly a reportage and a travelogue, partly a meditation on death.




Andrés Neuman is a Argentine writer, poet, translator, columnist, and blogger. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and now lives in Granada, Spain. He was named one of the original Bogotá39, and one of Granta’s Best of Young Spanish-language novelists. Fracture (2020), his latest novel, explores collective trauma, memory, love, and our relationship with other cultures.


Maxim Osipov, Russian author, social activist and cardiologist, lives, writes, and practices medicine in Tarusa in Russia. His writing has been collected in six Russian-language volumes and translated into twenty languages. Rock, Paper, Scissors (2019), a collection of short stories, presents a nuanced portrait of life in post-Soviet provincial Russia.  


Frédéric Pajak is a Swiss-French writer, graphic artist, painter, and editor of Les Cahiers dessinés. He has published more than twenty books – best known for their unique design fusing full-page drawings with biographical and autobiographical narrative and new innovative storytelling – including the annual series Manifeste incertain, which he began in 2012. The first volume is now available in English: Uncertain Manifesto (NYRB, 2019). In 2021 he won the Grand Prix Suisse de la littérature for his entire work.


Adania Shibli, was born in Palestine and divides her time between Berlin and Jerusalem. She wrote three novels in Arabic. Minor Detail (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020), a meditation on brutality, memory, and war, which tells a story of a young Bedouin girl raped by Israeli soldiers in 1949, was shortlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature and longlisted for the international Booker Prize.


Karine Silla is a novelist, playwright, actress, scriptwriter and producer. Born in Dakar, she lives in Paris. Aline et les hommes de guerre, her fourth novel (2020), tells the story of Aline Sitoé Diatta (1920-1944), the young female Senegalese heroine of opposition to the French colonial empire, a strong female symbol of resistance and liberty.


Beata Umbyeyi Mairesse, a writer and poet, born in Butare in Rwanda in 1979, arrived in France in 1994 having survived the Tutsi genocide. Tous tes enfants dispersés (2019) is her first novel and explores the history of several generations of one family after the Rwandan genocide. 



Photos : Franck Bouysse © Mathieu Bourgois Opale Editions Albin Michel | Thomas Flahaut © Patrice Normand | Theo Hakola © Jérôme Sevrette | Amin Maalouf © JF PAGA Grasset | Nastassja Martin © Ph. Bretelle | Andrés Neuman © Antonia Urbano | Frédéric Pajak © Louise Oligny | Karine Silla © Vincent Perez | Beata Umbyeyi Mairesse © Rodolphe Escher, Flammarion 
Jorge Comensal, Sacha Filipenko, Susana Moreira Marques, Maxime Ossipov, Adania Shibli © D.R.