We live in dark times. The world appears to be dislocating, with new forces in power and new allegiances being formed at both high and grassroots levels. As Britain continues its preparations for Brexit and the world appears to be retreating from its hard-won 20th century compact, our relationships with Europe and the Americas remain crucial for writers, readers, and audiences alike, the entire fragile global ecosystem of literature.
2018, therefore, is the ideal moment for London to provide a satellite for the much-lauded Festival America, founded in Vincennes in 2002. A large group of writers from across the continent will visit their French publishers and readers, and we are delighted that a contingent will travel on to London.
The range of voices and themes is exceptionally rich. There is darkness, dystopia and despair, from authors such as Michael Farris Smith, John Vigna, Chérie Dimaline and Jennie Melamed; there is crime, poverty and systemic collapse, from authors such as Tommy Orange, Omar El Akkad, Ivy Pochoda and Andrée Michaud. But there are also moments of high comedy from Patrick DeWitt, Nathan Hill, Ben Markowits and Jonathan Ames, and lighter-hearted, serious-minded narratives from Heather O’Neill and Emma Hooper.
Society, the role of women and the American Dream are under scrutiny from Brad Watson, Nancy Lee, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Brit Bennett and Sarah Churchwell.
For sheer narrative arabesques and invention look no further than four exceptional Canadian writers Christian Guay-Poliquin, Guillaume Morissette, Éric Plamondon and Michael Redhill.
And for serious weight and a historical view, we have the much-garlanded Canadian champion author Guy Vanderhaeghe, as well as the announcement of the Cundill Prize for History at a gala event headlined by British historian Peter Frankopan, and we welcome the outstanding Académie Française member Dany Laferrière, whose novel The Enigma of the Return encapsulates the exile’s perpetual paradox.
With the support of our UK, US, Canadian, Québec and French partners we are looking forward to a magical few days around Trafalgar Square in late September. Do join us
Susie Nicklin, Director of Festival America in London and CEO of the MILD Group, July 2018