Just back from the Paris Book Fair, which is a truly stunning affair. Unlike, say, the London Book Fair, which is about publishers and deals, Paris’s annual Salon du Livre celebrates books themselves and their authors. Held at the Porte de Versailles expo centre, it’s essentially a enormous bookshop, open for one week. Anyone can come. People bring their children. It’s a day out.

I was there to promote Untied Kingdom, a.k.a. Royaume Désuni, for the lovely people from Bragelonne at their castle-like stand. This involved several media interviews and two lengthy signing sessions. At the latter I sat beside Professor Adam Roberts, who was promoting the French edition of his lots-of-awards-shortlisted-for Gradisil and who shamed me by addressing the fans in fluent French while I fumbled along in Franglais. I achieved one of my life ambitions, though, in that I was asked by a young lady to autograph the cast on her arm. I also learned that the mass-market paperback edition of Days was last year’s top-selling SF title in France. News to me, but then no one tells me anything, hélas!

Lou and the boys came along too, and we spent a couple of days either side of the Book fair weekend introducing Monty and Theo to Paris. Monty was not impressed by the cuisine (not enough Marmite involved) although he did develop a penchant for pain au chocolat. He also enjoyed the play park at the Jardin du Luxembourg and the bateau-mouche ride along the Seine. Theo, for his part, was just happy to be sharing a bedroom with his brother, although as in so many other aspects of their fraternal relationship the feeling was not mutual. Both of them had fun on the Eurostar, although Monty was disappointed not to see fish outside the window as we passed under the Channel. I, on the other hand, was relieved.

A big thanks to everyone who helped make our visit a success, not least Stéphane, Alain and David, the grands fromages at Bragelonne, and the press secretary they could not function without, Leslie (Monty fell in love with her). Thanks also to our babysitter Lauryanne (whom Monty also fell in love with). For a holiday, it was all pretty exhausting, but for a work trip, it was a blast.

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• Filed under News • 21/03/2008 •