Quais du Polar by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Quais du Polar is France´s biggest festival of crime fiction, attracting tens of thousands of readers every year. The festival is different from many others in the sense that it is a book-selling event on a large scale, and the panels and on-stage interviews with the authors are just the icing on the cake.   The main place is the market on the ground floor at the Palace de Commerce, where all major bookstores in Lyon have their own space, dividing between them the 100 authors that are invited to the festival. Luckily I don´t read French because if I did I’d have had to fit a whole palace’s worth of crime fiction books into my luggage back to Iceland!

It was a great honour for me to be invited to the Quais du Polar Festival. My book Snare was just out in French translation (Piégée) the week before and as an unknown author in France I thought that I would just sit patiently beside my countrymen Arnaldur Indriðason and Ragnar Jónasson and watch them sign books for the duration of the festival. It did not turn out that way. There were lines for me too as there were for many of the other one hundred authors, readers not only wanting signatures but maybe also a chat, selfies with the authors or answers to their questions. This was a very nice surprise for me and I quickly learned that French people take their reading very seriously and are eager to discover new authors and books.

My heart is still warm after the very friendly and hospitable reception in Lyon. Besides the festival the city is amazing, the food an absolute adventure but most of all, the wonderful French readers are what makes the Quais du Polar Festival such a unique experience.

Many thanks to Lilja for sharing her experience of this event. Lilja’s thriller Snare is currently being translated by Quentin Bates and will be published in English in Autumn 2017 by Orenda books and the sequel will follow in 2018.


Lilja at the Quais du Polar crime fiction festival in Lyon, France




  1. Really enjoyed seeing Lilja at the Quais du Polar. I used to live in France, near Lyon, and go there every year, it’s such a great experience for readers. I’ve moved back to the UK now and I still made the effort to go there this year, because I enjoy it so much. Delighted to hear that it’s a good experience for the authors as well, although they are so busy they don’t get to see much of the town.

  2. EuroButNotTrash · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Euro But Not Trash and commented:
    Icelandic author Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s writes for Stirling University’s Nordic Noir group about her experiences attending a French crime fiction festival.

  3. […] I’m used to people showing up for panels, but in this case it was just phenomenal. Our event was sold out, I think it was 300 seats, and we all signed a lot of books afterwards. A very fun event, I think. People seemed to get a few laughs at least. Hope we made some sense up there on stage (even though Ragnar and I were still high from our legendary 6-3 win). The festival was far from over after that. I had heard about Crime at the Coo, so I thought that might be a cool thing to participate in. For the first time in my life I actually SANG as well as played the piano in front of a live audience. So glad no one filmed that. But it was good fun. I performed a freshly composed song for the event, a song I named Bloody Beautiful Scotland. You can listen to it here if you want. Sadly I had to leave early the next morning because of a tour back home in Norway, but I left Scotland with so many fond memories and new friendships. Everything went smoothly, and I cannot thank the organisers enough for making this one of the truly best crime festivals there is. Please invite me back. Kindly Thomas McEnger You can listen to some of Thomas’s Music here For more info on his books check here , here or here. If you would like to read more author book festival experiences you can check out this […]

  4. […] is written by Lilja Sigurdardottir and translated by Quentin […]

  5. […] If you like to read about the author’s experiences at festivals you can read about Thomas Enger’s Bloody Scotland experience here and Lilja Sigurdardottir’s Quais de Polar experience here. […]

  6. […] can see/read more about Lilja here,  here and here.  Lilja recently appeared at Granite Noir,  Newcastle Noir,  Bloody Scotland in […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: