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You may think it's too early to hear about Cognac's European literature festival, which is being held this year from 17th to 20th November. But believe me, it's not. If you want to make the most of the festival it's a good idea to read the books of the authors you could get to meet. Especially as some are British....

A guest post by Harriet Springbett

This year is Cognac's 1000th anniversary, and to mark the occasion the Littératures Européennes festival organisers have chosen to honour young generation writers from countries in which Cognac's twin towns are situated. And one of those countries is Scotland.

Three British authors have been shortlisted for the awards. Firstly, Jenni Fagan's book The Panopticon (La Sauvage in French) has been shortlisted for the Prix des Lecteurs (the favourite book of the region's librarians). Jenni Fagan has been named by Granta as one of the best young British novelists, and The Panoptican has been made into a film. Unfortunately, Jenni is unable to attend the festival and will be represented by her French publisher.

Renowned Scottish author and journalist Andrew O'Hagan has been shortlisted for the Prix Bouchon with his novel The Illuminations. Andrew has won and been nominated for many awards, including a Booker shortlisting for Our Fathers. He will be present at several round-table discussions about Europe, and will hopefully be going into schools in Poitou-Charentes to talk about his work.

Another contender for the Prix Bouchon is Barry Gornell, with his novel The Healing of Luther Grove. Born in Liverpool, Barry now lives in Scotland, where he's a screenwriter and novelist. He will also be present at the festival. You can hear him talk about writing as a profession on Friday 18th November at 4pm. Your children may meet him at school, too.

Although she isn't British, the Slovakian poet and novelist Jana Benova speaks English and is in residence at Cognac during the festival. Winner of the EU Literature Prize, Jana has wriiten several collections. Her novel Café Hyène will soon be published in English under the title Seeing People Off. As well as participating in the festival, she will be talking about her work (in English) during 5 public meetings in regional towns during October and November. The first is in Cognac on 6th October.

Authors from France, Slovakia, Spain and Germany will also be present at La Salamandre congress centre (next door to the tourist office) in Cognac. See the Littératures Européennes website for more details.

The full festival programme, which includes round tables, exhibitions, workshops and film projections, will be available in mid-October. In the meantime, visit your local bookshops, such as the Le Texte Libre in Cognac or Livres et Vous in Ruffec, and order your books from the friendly staff there.

You can read more details of this and other local cultural events on Harriet Springbett's blog.