Saturday, April 04, 2009


Last weekend, after a day and a half at the Chichester Writers’ Festival (organised by Kate and Greg Mosse), held at the extraordinarily beautiful estate of West Dean (bequeathed by Edward James for the furtherance and prosperity of the arts – check out their website and see what they do there), I flew to Lyon for the Quais Du Polar Crime Fiction Festival. Apart from meeting a great number of French readers, booksellers, and also my French publishers, I did a panel with Laurence Block and Jason Starr, both of whom I knew from Boucheron in Baltimore last October. I stayed in Lyon until late on Sunday, arrived back in Birmingham in the early hours of Monday morning, spent Monday writing the articles to accompany the new photographs from Washington on the homepage of the website and catching up on the other thousand-and-one matters that needed resolution, and then on Tuesday morning I took the Eurostar from St. Pancras to Paris for the evening presentation of the Inaugural Prix Du Roman Noir Du Nouvel Observateur. Le Nouvel Observateur is a very widely-read current affairs magazine in France. It has a circulation of considerably more than half a million a week. They tend to concentrate on politics and the arts, and this is the first year they have awarded a literary prize.

I knew I was in the shortlist a couple of weeks ago, and alongside me were Dennis Lehane for ‘The Given Day’, James Lee Burke for ‘Last Car To Elysian Fields’, Don Winslow for ‘The Winter of Frankie Machine’ and Carl Hiaasen for ‘Nature Girl’.

Well, on the evening of Tuesday, March 31st 2009, in front of over one hundred and eighty people from the Parisian literary, journalistic and artistic community, I had to get up and acknowledge acceptance of the award, and give a speech in French.

If you know French and want to know what I said, or if you don’t speak French but you just want to see me being sufficiently humble to make a clown of myself, then you can access the video through my agency website with the following link:

Well, I must say that I was astounded to receive the award, and very pleased indeed. As I said to my editor, there is something extra-sexy about getting a French literary prize.

At this juncture I must say a heartfelt thank you to Leonore, Arnaud, Marie and Francois at Sonatine (my publisher) and Fabienne (my press agent) at Sofab for all the remarkably hard work they put into promoting and publicising the book in France, and also to Fabrice Pointeau, my French translator, who did such an amazing job of turning ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ into ‘Seul Le Silence’.

Lyon was wonderful, Paris was amazing, and I am currently awaiting news on whether I will be contracted to write the screenplay of ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’, the purpose and reason for my earlier trip to Paris a month or so ago.

Anyway, what else transpires? The day after getting back from Paris we released the paperback of ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ at Borders in Birmingham, and on Friday (yesterday) I went to London to film an interview about the book which will be shown exclusively on before it is then available more widely elsewhere.

I am 80,000-ish words through ‘The Saints of New York’. I have just agreed to a week of events in Cumbria - twelve libraries in four days. Bouchercon is in Indianapolis in October, and I will be there to promote the US release of ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ which is being published by Overlook in September.

‘A Quiet Vendetta’ (entitled ‘Vendetta’) will be released in France in September also, as will the paperback version of ‘Seul Le Silence’, and we are releasing the French version of ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ (which will be called ‘The Anonymous’) next year.

Otherwise ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ is being released in the following languages over the next six to twelve months:

Lithuanian/Jotema Publishing House
Norwegian/Vega Forlag (already available in hardback)
Taiwanese/Business Weekly Publications
Portuguese/Editorial Presenca
Polish/Wydawnictwo Dolnoslaskie Sp Z.oo
Dutch/De Fontein
Italian/Neri Pozza (Giano Imprint)
Romanian/Editura Leda
Czech/Millennium Publishing
American/Overlook Press
French (paperback)/Livre De Poche

There are also half a dozen or so languages already contracted to publish ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ and I’ll let you know what they are in a later post.

So that’s where we are at the moment. I’ll keep you posted on any news about the film. If you go to the homepage of the website you’ll see that we have changed it around a bit. There’s some more menu items going on there soon, and we have put up a few of the pictures from the Washington trip with a few words about them that might be of interest.

Trust everything is okay with you all, that you are now enjoying the first bright days of spring! Keep your e-mails coming, keep reading, and we’ll speak again soon.

Best wishes, as always,


Brian said...

Congratulations Roger on this award, fantastic news, The first of many I predict ! You were also selected by a premier league player who are behind a campaign to encourage children to read. One player from each premier league club was asked to pick a book of their choice and one of them picked AQBIA !!

R J Ellory said...

Wow - that is amazing! Who was the player - do you know?

Brian said...

Danny Higginbotham of Stoke City

Russell said...

Thank your lucky stars it wasn't Wayne Rooney, Roger. His choice was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which he has promised to start as soon as he learns how to read...

Many congratulations on all that has happened and continues to happen - you deserve it all and more

R J Ellory said...

Such a cynic Russell... I am sure that Colleen has already read it to him.
As far as this campaign for encouraging kids to read is concerned, this is the kind of thing I have been involved in for over twenty years - youth literacy and all related things - so I'm going to go find out more about what they're doing and see if I can help in any way. Thanks for this Brian - most interesting!

Brian said...

No bother Roger, The campaign is called the premier league reading stars initiative and I picked it up on the independent news service.Looking through the choices it seems 2 players picked their own book !!

R J Ellory said...

I just found it. I have a slight suspicion that perhaps Homer's 'Iliad' might not have been the book to be found on that particular player's nightstand, but you never know...
And picking one's own book is a little...well, what can one say?

autographiliste said...

un grand merci encore
de votre gentilesse a lyon et paris
continuer a faire des grands livres
et j'espere vous voir en juin en france
un grand fan francais
qui vous a defendu pour le prix biblio nouvelle observateur


R J Ellory said...

Merci Richard. It was great to meet you in Lyon, and again in Paris, and no doubt we will meet again at some point. Thank you for your support and friendship - it means a great deal to me.
Best wishes, as always,

martin said...

Congratulaions on the award you got in France. Really fantastic for you. I didn't know the books you were up against except for Dennis Lehane A Given Day. I've actually just bought that book, but I rate the author very highly, having read Sacred and Mysic River which was made into a film. What do you think of him?
Pleased that ASAOV is out in paperback. I think it will do really well. But the best news would be if you got to write the screenplay AQBIA. I've always thought it would make a great film, especially if you had some control over it. I never yet seen a film that is better than the book, but the film of your book could come close. And to be published in the USA would be great too. Things are moving along pretty fast for you now, and I'm so pleased because it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

R J Ellory said...

Much appreciated! Lehane is a great author. I met him in Baltimore last October, and he is a real gentleman. I have read Mystic River and loved it. Have yet to read The Given Day, but I will. We shall see what happens with the film possibility. I'll keep you posted.

Debbie said...

Congratulations on the award Roger and fingers crossed for the screenplay. I sincerely hope that the good luck continues and you get the recognition you deserve.

R J Ellory said...

Thank you very much for your good wishes Debbie.
I trust all is well with you?

Alison Bruce said...

Hi Roger,

Congratulations on your award, that's fantastic news. Giving your speech in French was a nice touch too. (You clever thing).

I'm truly delighted for you, Alison

R J Ellory said...

How are you? We haven't spoken for ages. How is the book progressing? E-mail me direct and let me know what's going on.

hammershark said...

Dear Mr Ellory,
I have just finished your book "a quiet belief in angels". It was just a wonderful time.
You stroke me like nobody else, and you've just joined Lawrence Block (the Scudder one), James Lee Burke and Donald Westlake in my personal Pantheon (yes, I am French and from Lyon - pleased you enjoyed the place !).
That was deep, that was poetic, that was dark, desperately hopeful and just perfectly written. You brought something new and precious to thrillers and literature.
Thank you for such a great experience, thank you for your love of words, and thank your translator as well : he did a great job !
I am looking forward to reading from you again.
Thanks again.
Best regards.

R J Ellory said...

Dear hammershark (great name!)
Yes, Lyon was wonderful, and I am so very, very pleased that you enjoyed the book. I have received a good number of e-mails about the translation, and I can see that it was good. Your words make all the difference, and it is great to know that the book is brining some pleasure. I hope you enjoy the next one that is released in France, called 'Vendetta', and coming out in September.
Best wishes,