The Tesson affair: Sophie Nauleau, the artistic director of the Spring of Poets, resigns

The choice, which I fully accept, of Sylvain Tesson as the fairy godmother of + La Grace + (theme of the 2024 edition, from March 9 to 25) launched a surprising, terrifying, not to say monstrous cabal. In this context, since no words were heard, I preferred to reserve mine for silence,” explains Sophie Nauleau in a press release sent to AFP this Friday, announcing that she is leaving the “artistic direction” of the event.

Several elements darken the image

Since January 18, the date of publication of a tribune in Libération signed by 1,200 personalities, poets, editors, booksellers, critics, the artistic director has been heavily criticized for calling the writer Sylvain Tesson an “icon reactionary” according to the signatories, as the sponsor of the demonstration.

An article published on January 24 in Le Monde also revealed, following the testimony of former employees, “the painful management of which they were the victims of its director, Sophie Nauleau, in recent years.” The article also states that the National Book Center (CNL), the main funder of the event, planned to launch an investigation at the end of the 25th edition.

Appointed in 2018 to head the event run by the association of the same name, Sophie Nauleau replaced the poet Jean-Pierre Siméon. A graduate of the Ecole du Louvre, she dedicated her doctoral thesis in French literature, defended in 2009 at the Sorbonne, to the poet André Velter, the first director of the Spring of Poets, to whom she also dedicated an essay (Verb on horseback). Producer at France Culture between 2004 and 2015, notably hosting the weekly poetry show “ça rhyme à quoi”.

“To those who challenge me to answer, I would like to remind you that I have dedicated the last fifteen years, first to French culture and then to Printemps des Poètes, to making the voices of yesterday’s poets heard in all their diversity. ” she added in a press release.

It is currently unknown whether a new artistic direction will emerge on the occasion of the celebration of the 25th year of the Spring of Poets, an event created in 1999 at the initiative of Jack Lang, the former Minister of Culture.


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