Québec Édition is a committee within the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL), a group that brings together French-language publishers from across Québec and the rest of Canada. Whereas ANEL represents and promotes the interests of its publishers more generally, Québec Édition focuses on export opportunities. It works largely by organizing group booths in book fairs around the world, helping publishers with networking and mentorships, taking part in trade missions, and welcoming partners from various countries to Québec.
Québec Édition has organized the Rendez-vous fellowship program since 2013, bringing publishers from abroad to Montréal to meet with publishers from Québec and French Canada. The sixth gathering will be held in Montréal from November 13 to 18, 2018, with some 20 publishers visiting to learn more about the Québec and French Canadian book markets as they rub shoulders with book professionals. Publishers of all nationalities from all editorial fields (children’s books, YA literature, fiction, essays, scientific textbooks, and university presses) are welcome, and as part of the buildup to Frankfurt 2020, Québec Édition added a similar event earlier this year, bringing a group of German publishers and translators to Québec City’s international book fair for a look at the local literary scene. “It was a wonderful week,” said Carolin Klemenz of Diana Verlag/Random House Germany.
“I’ll always have fond memories of it. The trip definitely changed how I see Québec and Canada and broadened my horizons of the French-speaking world.”
More and more Québec and French Canadian publishers are exporting their books and attending book fairs, says Québec Édition’s international development manager Karine Vachon, who has overseen Québec’s presence at book fairs and shows for Québec Édition since 2010. “Québec Édition helps publishers with the support of SODEC,” Vachon says, “from indie presses taking their first steps abroad to bigger publishers with international experience who are looking to break into new markets or to become key players.”
Aside from the Salon du livre de Montréal (the biggest French-language book fair in North America), the largest annual event for Québec Édition is the Frankfurt Book Fair. The province is also a regular guest of honor at events like the Marché de la Poésie festival in Paris each June.
“Given the constraints of the domestic market—namely, the mere eight million French-speaking readers—Québec and French Canadian publishers have no choice but to export if they are to see their national literature flourish,” says Richard Prieur, executive director of ANEL, which turned 25 last year. “Exports are not limited to other French-speaking countries but also go out to major English- and German-speaking markets, among others, through translation and rights sales to other territories. It’s a challenge that Québec Édition has risen to for going on 10 years now.”