Events & Programs

Sebastian Faulks, 17 February 2016 [photo by Krystal Kenney]

The Library schedules more than 60 evening events a year featuring authors, filmmakers, musicians, journalists and other public figures and experts. These events are free and open to the public, and in the case of authors, they include a book-signing after the program courtesy of a local English-language bookstore. All but a few of these programs are free and open to the general public, thanks to continuing support from the Annenberg Foundation.

The Library welcomes speakers like Sebastian Faulks, Marianne Faithfull, Jane Smiley, Jimmy Buffett, Emmanuel Carrère, Gary Shteyngart, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jelani Cobb, Reza Aslan, Joshua Ferris, Adam Gopnik, David Sedaris, Michael Palin, Richard Ford, Joe Klein, Paul Auster, among many, many others, twice a week. Our regular event nights are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


The 2017 Book Award goes to The Novel of the Century

Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is one of the most popular novels of all time. Biographer David Bellos recounts the fascinating story of the decades-long creation of this masterwork in his just-published book, The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventures of Les Misérables. The screeners and jury of the 2017 Book Award were unanimous. Bellos's account takes the prize.

Bellos accepted the Award, and the $5,000 prize, at the glittering reception at the George C. Marshall Center near the Place de la Concorde on Friday 3 November 2017. The Library's Writers Council chairwoman and Parisian literary fixture Diane Johnson presented the award. 

In his remarks, Bellos stressed the immortal nature of this great work of literature, in continuous print for over 150 years and translated into dozens of languages. According to Bellos, Victor Hugo's underlying themes of redemption, love, and struggle against poverty remain every bit as relevant today as they were in the 1860s, perhaps more so. 

The American Library in Paris Book Award recognizes a work in English that deepens and stimulates French-American understanding. 

Here is the 2017 Book Award Press Release in English and French. A photo gallery of the 2017 Book Award ceremony can found on the Library Flickr

About the American Library in Paris Book Award

The Book Award was launched in 2013 with a generous gift to the Library from the Florence Gould Foundation. The past recipients of the prize reflect the diversity of intellectual and literary output that the Book Award seeks to recognize:

2017: The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventures of Les Misérables by David Bellos
2016: The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France by Ethan B. Katz (Full transcript of Ethan B. Katz's remarks.)
2015: The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio
2014: An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
2013: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall

The Book Award follows a long tradition of showcasing and celebrating authors at the American Library. The Library was created in part as a memorial to a young American poet, Alan Seeger, who wrote the well-known poem “I Have a Rendezvous with Death” not long before he died in action in France in 1916. One of the Library’s founding trustees was Edith Wharton. Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, among many other writers of note, contributed reviews to the Library’s literary magazine, Ex Libris. Stephen Vincent Benét composed John Brown’s Body at the Library. Authors of every generation have worked and spoken at the Library: Ford Madox Ford, Archibald MacLeish, Colette, Henry Miller, André Gide, Anaïs Nin, James Baldwin, Irwin Shaw, James Jones, and Mary McCarthy, to name a few from the past. As the Library approaches its centennial, it remains the pre-eminent center in Paris for evening talks by prominent authors, artists, and other public figures.


The Award is administered by the American Library in Paris and is overseen by its Writers Council. For a list of frequently asked questions, please check The American Library in Paris Book Award FAQs


  • Any book-length prose fiction or nonfiction work, originally written in English, about France or the French, will be considered by a committee of Award screeners. Nominated books must be scheduled for publication between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018.
  • Anyone – author, publisher, agent, reader — may nominate books for this award.
  • Books published exclusively in electronic form or online are not eligible.
  • A reprint of a book first published in another year is not eligible.
  • Books by members of the Writers Council or screening committee are not eligible for the Award.
  • The decision of the jury is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.

As soon as you know you would like to nominate a book, please notify Alexandra Vangsnes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the title of the book(s) and the estimated date the Library will receive the book(s). All nominated books must be postmarked and mailed to the American Library in Paris no later than 1 May 2018. Early submissions are encouraged.

Nomination Process

All nomination materials for the 2018 Book Award must be received by 1 May 2018.

  • STEP ONE - Complete and submit the online nomination form. A separate nomination form must be submitted for each title nominated.
  • STEP TWO - Submit the entry fee of €50,00 or $60.00. A separate entry fee must be submitted for each title nominated. We accept payments by check in euros or U.S. dollars, by credit card via PayPal (see link below), or via wire transfer.
Pay €50,00 (EUR)
Pay $60.00 (USD)

Please make checks payable to The American Library in Paris and send them to the address below. Contact Alexandra Vangsnes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to pay via wire transfer.

    • STEP THREE - Submit five (5) copies of each nominated book. Proof or reviewer's copies are acceptable as long as the book's publication date will fall on or before 30 June 2018 and must be replaced by finished copies at the time of publication.

      Please send books and entry fees to:

      The American Library in Paris Book Award
      c/o The American Library in Paris
      10, rue du Général Camou
      75007 Paris

      Phone number, if needed by shipper:  +33 1 53 59 12 60

      If you choose to send books via FedEx, UPS, DHL, or another shipping company, please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to provide a tracking number.


      1 November 2017 Nominations open
      1 May 2018 Nominations close
      15 July 2018 Shortlist announced
      November 2018 Winner announced at award ceremony in Paris

      Books received will not be returned and become property of the American Library in Paris. The American Library in Paris Book Award is made possible by a generous gift from the Florence Gould Foundation.

2017 YAFF banner

The American Library in Paris is proud to be the organizer of the Young Authors Fiction Festival (YAFF). The YAFF is a city-wide writing intiative that aims to strengthen community among English-speakers in the Paris area through the art and craft of storytelling. The YAFF is free of charge and open to all students ages 5-18 in the greater Paris area who write in English. The Young Authors Fiction Festival originated as The Red Wheelbarrow Writing Contest, which began in 2001 with l'Ecole Massillon and a handful of Paris-based members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), who acted as judges. 

The 2017 Young Authors Fiction Festival culminated with a celebration event on Friday 2 June at the Library. Over 300 people attended the celebration event, including the finalists, parents, and teachers. Each finalist was awarded a certificate. YAFF celebration booklets were printed with the full stories of all the 1st to 5th place winners and each booklet is available for 15 euros. 

This year we received just under 500 submissions, the biggest intake in the history of YAFF, from over 25 schools, writing programs, and homeschooling programs in and around Paris. The Library thanks the 60 judges who participated this year, as well as the 2017 YAFF Committee, comprised of Library staff and volunteers, who handled all the administration all along the way. 

The YAFF team will be taking a break over the next few months, but will be back in the fall to prepare for the 2018 YAFF. 

For questions, contact the YAFF Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For a full list of all the 2017 YAFF winners, read the Library blog. For more photos from the celebration event, check them out on the Library Flickr.

Frequently Asked Questions


A. Spread the word about the YAFF amongst students and staff at your school and encourage them to participate. Paper your school and/or library or bookstore with the YAFF Flyer and make available the YAFF Guidelines. Please forward this events page to all other teachers you know for more details.

A: The Young Authors Fiction Festival is absolutely free of charge to enter.

A: The goal of YAFF is to encourage and support children and young adults to complete a creative written project. All participants of YAFF are invited to attend the Celebration Event normally scheduled in mid-June, where we honor all the writers and announce the finalists of the YAFF.

A: No, all qualifying entries must be submitted by midnight on 1 April. Unfortunately we cannot consider any stories submitted afterwards.

A: You will receive a personalized e-mail several days after submitting your story, letting you know if the story meets the YAFF guidelines. (If it doesn’t, then we’ll offer some suggestions to help you modify it). If you don’t receive an e-mail within one week, please re-submit the story.

A: All stories must be within the word count requirements. If you submit a story that contains more words, we will send it back for further editing so that it falls within the guidelines (maximum of 750 words for students in GS-CM2 -- maximum of 1,000 words for students in collège or lycée.)

A: No, only the body text count towards the word count.

A: Each submission to YAFF must be original: the participant must come up with the content and write the story on his own. Parents and teachers are encouraged to help only insofar as they create “teachable moments”, e.g., guiding young writers through revisions by asking questions instead of giving answers. For example, asking “can you express this idea in fewer words?” to help a child write more concisely. We require that all students pledge on their honor that their submission is their original work.

A: Part of the objective of YAFF is to help young people develop new skills and a deeper understanding of the English language. We like to avoid, if at all possible, that parents or teachers correct the "mistakes" for the students. But neither do we want teachers/parents to have so light a touch that a potentially good story submission doesn't make the grade due to issues that might easily have been improved upon, while teaching new skills at the same time.

A: Please see the American and French Grade Level Comparison chart above. If your child is in the British or American system, we encourage you to tell us the French equivalent so we can ensure his submission is entered into the appropriate category.

A: Absolutely! Please make sure to submit each student’s entry in a separate e-mail, with their name/grade in the subject line, the submission form pasted into the body of the e-mail, and the story attached as a PDF or .doc.

A: We suggest that parents have young children write out their story, then type it up for them including any spelling or grammar mistakes. That way the story that is submitted is indeed the original work of the child.

A: Not at all. All stories are judged independently of entry information except for the title of the story and the age / grade of the author.

A. The culminating YAFF Celebration at the American Library is on Friday 5 June 2015. At the YAFF Celebration we honor all participating authors and burgeoning storytellers as well as announce the finalists. Finalists will be notified prior to the event, but all young authors are encouraged to attend this celebration of books for youth and children.



In this nine-part writing workshop for Library members we will look at story structure and characterization, as well as stylistic issues. Participants will share plot summaries or outlines of their novels in progress as well as excerpts of their work. The goal is to increase pacing and narrative tension so that the story has maximum momentum. Writers will send each other material a week before meetings and come prepared with constructive criticism.

In the first three meetings we will discuss plot outlines and a first section or chapter. Subsequent meetings will offer the opportunity to refine story lines and submit later chapters. The group will be limited to nine people, with three receiving critique at each meeting. Novelists at any stage are invited to join. What is required is a commitment to the nine sessions.

Those interested in this group should send a short paragraph describing their project and its status to programs manager Grant Rosenberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The meet times are 3pm-5pm in the Library conference room on the following dates:


October 26

November 23

December 14


January 18

February 1

March 15

April 12

May 17

June 14

About the workshop leader

jessicalevineJessica Levine is the author of the novel, The Geometry of Love (She Writes Press, 2014) and of Delicate Pursuit: Literary Discretion in Henry James and Edith Wharton (Routledge, 2002). Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Southern Review and The Huffington Post. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. You can visit her at