France's literary season kicks off with tales of social movements and commitment

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There is no way of knowing yet what kind and level of social protests may emerge in France this autumn. But judging by the new books from authors Alice Zeniter, Barbara Stiegler, Émilie Notéris, Sandra Lucbert and Aude Lancelin that have been published at the end of the summer break, one of the themes of the new literary season looks set to be that of political commitment and struggle – and the way in which people get involved. Lise Wajeman looks at a mixture of new fiction and non-fictional accounts of recent social conflicts and workplace disputes in France, and finds that 'hybrid' forms of writing win out over the traditional novel form.

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The end of summer marks the start of the new literary season or 'rentrée littéraire' in France. And one emerging theme of the books coming out this autumn is that of France's recent industrial and social conflicts. These include the long-running 'gilets jaunes' or 'yellow vests' protests against the government, the demonstrations and strikes against pension reforms and the trial and conviction of senior executives at France Télécom over “moral harassment” that led to a spate of suicides at the telecommunications giant.