On October 8, 9 and 10, the thirteenth (a very odd number!) Edition of the Toulouse Polars du Sud festival will be held. Second largest French festival dedicated to the genre behind Quais du Polar in Lyon, TPS has also become one of the most important literary events in the Ville Rose. 48 authors (French-speaking but also Italian, Spanish, American, Argentinian, Croatian, Polish, Greek or British), activities as varied as film screenings, writing workshops, a murder party, a giant Cluedo, a rally … And an atmosphere that is always friendly and pleasant.
The opportunity to put its president, Jean-Paul Vormus, in custody to find out a little more. Such a success made by volunteers, it is a little suspect, it was necessary to investigate!
What conclusions do you draw from the 2020 edition of the festival with the problem of the pandemic?
Jean-Paul Vormus: It was a miracle that we were able to do last year’s edition. We have not had any health problems, either with the public or with the authors. We had followed the prefecture’s instructions. Regarding attendance, of course, there was a small drop. Usually, we welcome between 12,000 and 15,000 festival-goers. There, we were at 9,000. We are therefore satisfied, given the context, to have been able to hold this edition. The authors were particularly delighted to be there as some had not made such an event for almost a year. The public had also been weaned from cultural encounters. On both sides, the joy was palpable.
I suppose that, this year again, there will be constraints such as the presentation of the sanitary pass to access the marquee of the festival?
Yes, it will have to be passed. We are waiting for instructions from the prefecture to know if there will be the obligation to wear a mask or not …
I was surprised to see the presence of Tiffany Tavernier who, like Laurent Mauvignier, is not strictly speaking a thriller?
His latest novel, Friend, is on the edge of the genre. It tells the story of a man who discovers one morning that the GIGN has come to arrest his neighbor – whom he knows well – who is a serial killer of children. What is interesting in this novel is the impact of this event on this man and his couple. I really liked this book. I also enjoyed his book Roissy which tells the story of this somewhat distraught woman who lives in the basements of Roissy airport, and who invents lives with passengers in transit.
What other thrillers have you liked this year?
It’s also on the edge of the thriller but I liked it a lot The Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba. It takes place in a Latin American city bordered by an impenetrable rainforest. Young Indians come from the forest to beg in the city, in a peaceful manner. Suddenly, other more belligerent children also start begging. One day, they attack a supermarket and kill two people. The whole town wants to find them and punish them. Great novel about the mystery of childhood, the blurring of the lines between innocence and perversity. But the novel that appealed to me the most is Solak by Caroline Hinault. It is an open-air closed-door in the North of the Arctic Circle, in a military base where three very dissimilar guys live. And then suddenly, as in westerns, a fourth character, a little enigmatic and silent, disturbs this fragile balance. It is very well written. I could also quote Rosine, an ordinary criminal by Sandrine Cohen, A psychological thriller about an infanticide. A personality investigation, responsible for establishing the profile of the murderous mother, leads a real investigation into this tragedy. It could be creepy and overwhelming, but in fact it’s very well brought to a hellish pace. There is also Red water of Jurica Pavicic where a cop must solve the disappearance of a young girl. It is a long-term investigation that spans the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Point.
What are your relations with the publishers?
I ask them to tell me what they will publish in the coming months. This helps us with the programming of the festival because we have to read the books early enough and then contact the authors six months to one upstream.
There are new publishers of thrillers that have emerged, some doing high quality work like Equinox, Agullo or Gallmeister who have invested in this field too… Which publishers do you like among the most recent…
The ones you are already citing. I am a fan of Agullo. Their books are always of good quality and they denigrate a lot of new authors. This year at Equinox, we liked and invited Benjamin Dierstein and Caryl Férey. Among the publishers you did not mention, there is also the Manufacture des Livres.
There are always authors from the region in each edition of the festival …
Yes, it happens to us to take advantage of the event to know a little more. It also depends on their topicality. This year, there is Cédric Sire, Charles Aubert, Benoît Séverac, Hervé Jubert or Nicolas Druart, a young author who publishes thrillers at Harper Collins.
There will also be the presence of Landis Blair and David Carlson, the authors of the comic The Hunting Accident which had a great critical success …
Yes, they got the price at Angoulême comic book festival. It really is a superb graphic novel.
You are proposing for the second time a murder party …
This will happen at Natural History Museum Thursday, October 7 in the evening. It is open on registration, there are 60 places (divided by teams – Complete Info). It was imagined by the writer Alain Monnier and there will be among the actors-suspects Michèle Pédinielli, Jean-Christophe Tixier and Jean-Hugues Oppel.
What are the themes of the round tables that will punctuate the festival?
On Friday 8 a beautiful evening where we will head north with 2 great traveling authors, Caryl Ferey and Oliver Truc. Then on Saturday a panorama of Spanish thriller, a round table on comics with Landis Blair and Keko, meetings on humor and thriller, wars and thrillers, the relationship between thriller and “white” literature. Finally, one Sunday of the Italian thriller, corruption and the cases told by the thriller and the relationship between the thriller and childhood
Proposals reported by Bertrand lamargelle
Toulouse Polars du Sud
13th International Police Literature Festival
October 8, 9 and 10, 2021