Monday, June 25, 2012

THE CLEANER named Best Thriller in France

In some exciting news for antipodean crime fiction, over the weekend Paul Cleave's debut thriller, UNEMPLOYE MODELE (THE CLEANER, in English), was named as the Best Thriller at the very popular 'Pocket Book Fair' in Saint Maur des Fosses (Paris, France). Cleave, of course, won the Ngaio Marsh Award last year for his fourth novel, BLOOD MEN. So now the author from Christchurch is an award-winner in both hemispheres.

It's great to see New Zealand-written crime fiction being recognised on the international stage. 140 authors and 22,000 visitors/readers attended the celebration of all things books in Saint Maur des Fosses. The popular and successful festival aims to put books into the everyday life of people, to bring books 'to the people on the street'.

Cleave was one of a number of 'international authors' to attend the French festival, including fellow crime writers RJ Ellory, SJ Watson, and Mons Kallentoft. The reports so far have been in French, but thanks to Google translate, I've been able to decipher that everyone seemed to have a cracking time - writers and readers. The festival focuses on and celebrates a variety of books, from children's books to crime and detective fiction to 'general literature'.

A French book blogger has posted the photo below of Paul Cleave at the 'Pocket Book Fair' - I'm not sure if this is when his award was announced, or at some other point of the weekend's festivities.

UN EMPLOYE MODELE has proved very, very popular in France, selling more than 120,000 copies. This follows the book's success in Germany a few years ago - where it was the #1 crime/thriller title on for 2007. The book has also been signed up for a film adaptation by a top European production house (the makers of Taken, starring Liam Neeson, etc). So it certainly seems that the continental Europeans can't get enough of Cleave.

On his Facebook page, Cleave described winning the award for Best Thriller as "a huge thrill", and had this to say of the festival: "The festival in Saint-Maur was excellent. It was two days of signing books. In fact I've never seen so many copies of my books in one place. It was brilliant to see so many readers turn out to buy lots of books and meet lots of authors."

You can check out a photo of RJ Ellory beside a very large stack of Cleave's books (the French versions of THE CLEANER, and BLOOD MEN, I think) at Cleave's Facebook page here.

Congratulations to Paul Cleave, who is leading the way for New Zealand writers in Europe.

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