The Book Show S3 #2 (Paris)

This week The Book Show comes to you from Shakespeare & Company book shop in Paris.

It celebrates its 65th birthday this year but has links to the world of James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. Sinéad Gleeson talks to the owner Sylvia Whitman about the long history of the book shop and the role it played on the night of the terror attacks on Paris last November.

We hear from customers and from the staff – some of whom get to sleep among the bookshelves there at night!

Sinéad speaks to two bestselling writers, Marie Darrieussecq and Frédéric Beigbeder about the place writers occupy in France today. Darrieussecq’s first novel Pig Tails (Faber) is about a woman who turned into a sow. It was a runaway success but that success caused problems for her.

Frédéric Beigbeder is France’s literary ‘badboy’ and his autobiographical novel A French Novel (Fourth Estate) tells of his drug-taking, time spent in prison and the intimate life of members of his own family. He describes the difficulty he had in writing the book and talks of his dangerous attraction to autobiography.

Frédéric and Marie tell Sinéad about their reaction to the terror attacks on Paris last November – both as writers and as Parisians.

Marie Segura is a tour guide and part of the Localers team who organise the Paris Literature Tour. Regan Hutchins walks the streets with her to hear about Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Albert Camus. Crossing three centuries these writers have much in common and are still relevent to France in the twenty first century.