History

In 1989, Ms Laurence Renouf and Mr. Maurice Culot were asked by the French Minister of Culture to write a report about the houses of writers, artists and famous persons. Six months later, the report recommended the creation of a federative structure in order to protect and promote these literary places.

Preliminaries of the Federation

In 1993 and 1994, various events about the writer Alain-Fournier (symposiums, exhibitions, educational activities) were organized by the “Centre Départemental de Documentation Pédagogique du Cher”. The school-museum of “Le Grand Meaulnes”, located in Epineuil-le-Fleuriel, was restored and opened to the public. A course about literary heritage had already been started in 1986, year of the centenary of Alain-Fournier’s birth.

On March 11 1994, on the occasion of the Louvre bicentenary, a symposium called “Literature and museums” was organized by the “Société d’Histoire littéraire de la France” and the Orsay Museum in Paris (the person in charge was Mr Roger Pierrot). The question of literary heritage was widely discussed.

In October 1995, the French Minister of Culture included in his “Programme pour le Livre et la Lecture” the creation of a “national network of writers’ houses and literary museums”.

In October 1996, Michel Melot, general curator of the “Conseil Supérieur des Bibliothèques”, was asked to issue a new report presenting proposals for writers’ houses (“Mission de réflexion et de proposition sur les maisons d’écrivains” - available in French only).

On April 13 1996, the “Association des Bibliothécaires Français” (ABF) organized in Paris a one day conference called “Libraries and literary houses, places of memory, study and research “. This meeting gathered, for the first time in France, numerous representatives of writers’ houses and literary places, who compared their experience and presented their collections.

On October 18 and 19 1996, the « Premières Rencontres des maisons d’écrivain » took place in Bourges (Palais des Congrès), initiated by the “Centre Départemental de Documentation Pédagogique du Cher”. Representatives, owners and managers of about thirty writers’ houses as well as literary associations drew up a first evaluation of the situation. The debates were impassioned, sometimes divergent, but all participants agreed on the need to establish long-term relationship between the various places of literary memory.

From March 5 to 7 1997, the “Ecole nationale du Patrimoine” organized a training seminar about “Biographic museums, houses-museums, literary museums” meant for preservation and communication staff in charge of biographic museums. In 1992, the “Direction des Musées de France” had already published an inventory-map of places linked to literature called ”Ecrivains : musées, maisons….

Birth of the Federation

These various initiatives converged to give birth to the “Rencontres nationales des maisons d’écrivain et lieux de mémoire littéraire” on December 4th, 5th and 6th 1997, with thematic workshops and a round-table conference gathering representatives of European literary places. At the same time, the general meeting creating the “Fédération des maisons d’écrivain et des patrimoines littéraires” took place on December 6th 1997.

On December 3rd, 4th and 5th 1998, new “Rencontres” in Bourges were organized for the first time by the Federation itself, about “The literary place and its environment”. Large discussions dealt with the question of identity of a literary place, the links between the writer and his territory, the specificity of museographical, cultural or educational activities in such a place. During its first ordinary general meeting on December 5th, the Federation underlined its will to welcome foreign literary places linked to French literary culture or to French-speaking literature.

How to become a member

Proceedings of the “Rencontres des maisons d’écrivain”

See also the bibliography about writers’ houses (in PDF available), under the heading Resources




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