Two young editors died in the shootings at the Bataclan concert hall in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening (13th November) that left at least 129 dead and 352 wounded, including 99 on the critically injured list.
French book trade journal Livres Hebdo has reported that Lola Salines, 29, a children’s book editor in the Edi 8 department at Gründ, which is part of the Editis group, and Ariane Theiller, 23, who worked at Rustica Hebdo, which is part of the Média Participations group, were among the victims who were attacked whilst watching the Eagles of Death Metal gig at the Bataclan theatre on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th district.
Altogether 89 people died when gunmen stormed the theatre during the gig. Three of the gunmen were killed and another gunman died nearby. In other attacks across the city, 19 people died when gunmen started shooting at La Belle Equipe on 92 rue de Charonne, 15 people died when gun men set upon Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, while five died at La Casa Nostra restaurant on 92 rue de la Fontaine au Roi in the 11th district. Three attackers and a bystander were also killed near the Stade de France, St Denis, just north of Paris.
The Shakespeare and Co Bookshop in Paris in the 5th arrondissement, which was opened in 1951 by George Whitman and is now run by his daughter Sylvia, sheltered around 20 of its customers Friday night during the Paris attacks.
Sylvia told The Bookseller: "We decided to close the bookshop on Saturday and Sunday. We all felt we needed some time to deal with the shock and trying to gather our thoughts. Customers stayed with us overnight on Friday although this didn't feel exceptional as there were many places that closed with customers inside."
Harriet Alida Lye, a writer-in-residence at the bookstore told The Guardian as events unfolded that customers were safe in the bookshop and the windows were blacked out.
“We are all taking breaks between calling people and checking the news,” she said. “We’re saying it feels like this must be part of something bigger, like we are being senselessly attacked. It feels really close to home, because Paris is just so small and the attacks are all over the city.”
The next day, Rose Alana Frith, a bookseller at Shakespeare and Company Bookshop told Buzzfeed the shop bookshop had always acted as a place of safety for many, as a warm retreat from reality, and, last night, “as a refuge from atrocities.”
“People have spoken of these events as a potential dividing line between what was before and what will come; surrounded by a medley of familiar and previously unknown faces in the darkened stairwell, as events unfolded, I felt comforted,” she said. “Kindness endures. On my way home, after being awake for 22 hours, I stopped at a florist shop on the corner of my street, open in despite of what had occurred, and bought four sunflowers. “Some light in all that darkness,” the florist said.”
Shakespeare & Co. is normally open from 10am to 11pm seven days a week, but remained shut during the weekend because of the attacks. Most other English-language bookshops in Paris close at 7pm.
Michael Bhaskar, co-founder of Canelo Digital Publishing, tweeted from Paris during the evening of the attacks. He was in the French capital to speak at the biannual e-book conference held by the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Edition, SNE) on Friday.
As news of the attacks broke out, he tweeted the events were “awful and sickening”.
“It really is going mad outside,” he said. “Sirens across the sky. Nasty feeling. Solidarity with #Paris." Afterwards he told followers he was fine and on his way home to Oxford.
The Bookseller’s France correspondent, Barbara Casassus, who lives just 10 mins from the Batalcan, said: “Paris was deserted on Saturday as all museums, monuments, libraries and street markets were closed for the weekend. More people ventured out on Sunday to take advantage of the sunny weather and to gather in memory of the victims, until a false alert at the place de la République and unfounded rumours of shots being fired at the Hotel de Ville just down the road sent people diving for cover."
Authors have also expressed their sadness at the events in Paris on Friday on Twitter.
J K Rowling said in a tweet: "Heartbreaking, horrific news from Paris. Courage, la France. Nous sommes avec vous.”
Meanwhile, expressing concern for friends and loved ones, Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, tweeted in the wee hours of Saturday morning “Thinking of all my family and friends in Paris right now…”; a sentiment echoed by children’s illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who tweeted "My thoughts and hopes are with my Parisian friends.”
Salman Rushdie, whose book Satanic Verses has been the subject of huge controversy and banned in many Islamic countries, tweeted: “Great grief for the fallen, anger at the fanaticism that has created a vile mutation in the heart of Islam, & contempt for the but brigade”.
Linghams Booksellers in Heswall is holding a minute’s silence at 11am today (16th November) in memory of those who died in the attacks. Bookseller Carole Dearden said: “We wanted to show solidarity towards people in Paris and across Europe after what has happened. The attacks are horrendous and this feels like the right thing to do."
Meanwhile on Saturday (14th November), Nick Poole, c.e.o of CILIP, also opened the Speak Up For Libraries conference in London with one minute's silence for "the people who lost their lives in last night's tragic events in Paris and in conflicts around the world."
The leading cultural products chain Fnac has also said that because of the attacks, it was postponing the meeting of the jury of the lycée students Goncourt prize and award ceremony that were scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) in Rennes, Brittany.