French PA president: 'publishing is in mourning'

French PA president: 'publishing is in mourning'

The French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition, SNE), the Circle de la Librairie and the Bureau International de l'Edition Française (BIEF), which promotes French publishing abroad, replaced their traditional New Year cocktail reception yesterday evening (8th January) with a memorial to the victims of Wednesday’s attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Delivering a tribute, SNE president Vincent Montagne said: "The world of publishing is in mourning. Because the victims included authors of our houses, close friends, free and courageous spirits."

One of the slain, Cabu, whose cartoons of Mohammed in 2006 triggered death threats to the magazine, had his work published by several houses, including Le Glénat, Le Cherche Midi, Michel Lafon, Les Arènes, Flammarion, Seuil, Actes Sud and l’Archipel. Georges Wolinski, another to die in the attack, had about 100 albums published, Montagne noted.

After mentioning each victim briefly and calling for a minute’s silence, Montagne said : "We are all Charlie Hebdo, (and) all authors victims of a fatwa, such as Kamel Daoud, Alaa el Aswany and Salman Rushdie. Fantacism and barbary won’t work."

He welcomed all the messages of support from colleagues around the world, and asserted "our solidarity, unity, and determination not to allow ourselves to be intimidated (and to combat) subversion of our free and fraternal civilisation."

Meanwhile the attack on Charlie Hebdo had underscored more than ever the need "for creators to be given the means to defend our culture in all its diversity," Montagne said, adding: "Yes, copyright is a human right."

Separately, author Michel Houellebecq has been widely reported as planning to suspend promotion of his latest novel Soumission (Submission) because he has been deeply affected by the death of his close friend Bernard Maris, the economist and Charlie Hebdo columnist, in the Paris attack. The author is said to have left Paris after giving a television interview that will be aired on the high-profile Canal Plus channel this evening (Friday 9th January).