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The Make Books Travel Podcast

42 EpisodesProduced by Marleen SeegersWebsite

The Make Books Travel podcast offers a behind-the-scenes look at the international publishing scene. Literary agent Marleen Seegers interviews the industry's key players, who all have one thing in common: they make books travel, for instance from one language to another, from manuscript to published… read more

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S2 E11: Promoting French Publishing Abroad during the Ongoing Pandemic. An Interview with Nicolas Roche

On this episode I’m joined by Nicolas Roche. 

Nicolas and I were colleagues for a short while, in another lifetime it seems, at Editions Stock. I am glad I got to interview him in his capacity as Managing Director of the Bureau International de l’Edition Française, or in short, the BIEF. 

Together with his team, Nicolas is charged with promoting French publishing abroad. We discuss in detail what this really entails, how his publishing career got started, a brief history of the BIEF, and how the pandemic has impacted his day-to-day activities. 

In normal, non-pandemic times his job requires a great amount of international travel, so as you can imagine, things have changed quite a bit since March 2020.

Here are some of the questions I asked Nicolas:

  • When was the BIEF established and what was the main cultural or practical goal in its creation?
  • Where did you work before your position at the BIEF, and how did your earlier work and/or personal passions prepare you for your role with the BIEF?
  • What are the most crucial ways in which you as director nurture the international relationships that support the BIEF?
  • How have these practices had to adjust during a time in which it is not possible to travel?
  • Which aspects do you find most personally satisfying about directing the BIEF?
  • Where do you find the greatest challenges in promoting French publishing abroad?
  • How is the French publishing market doing at this moment, one year into the pandemic?
  • What’s the BIEF’s involvement, if any, in the organization of the Paris Book Fair, aka. Livre Paris?

Show Notes

  • Nicolas' book recommendations: 

- Hervé Le Tellier, L'Anomalie (Gallimard, 2020; forthcoming in the US with Other Press in November 2021 as The Anomaly, in a translation by Adriana Hunter) 

- Tiffany Tavernier, L'Ami (Sabine Wespieser, 2021; we haven't been able to find any information about a forthcoming English translation)

  • About Nicolas 

Nicolas Roche has more than thirty years' experience in publishing. First editor at Gallimard Jeunesse, he then had sales responsibilities in several publishing houses including Retz, Nathan, Magnard-Vuibert and Plon-Perrin, followed by his position as General Manager of Editions Stock (Hachette book group). Prior to joining the BIEF, he was CEO of Centre Pompidou Publishing.

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