Jul 16, 2018
Series: Biblio File in France
Héloïse d'Ormesson is a French publisher who founded a publishing house that bears her name. She studied comparative literature at Yale University in the United States, where she landed her first job in publishing, and then returned to France to work at Flammarion as director of foreign literature, and subsequently as an editor at Denoël, Laffont, and within the Gallimard group of companies.
We met at her offices in Paris to discuss, among other things, why so many editors become publishers, a publishers' freedom and control, illustrated covers and French tradition, readers versus customers, the lack of good literary agents in France, Fixed Price and the importance of booksellers; publishing as a cultural industry, Amazon, Heloise's heart and soul, her father Jean, books in the house at an early age, bookshelves as walls and furniture; favourite bookstores, The Scarlet Letter, Mollat in Bordeaux, championing books, the Grand Prix Jean d'Ormesson award, overlooked masterpieces, Jacques Stephen Alexis's In the Flicker of an Eyelid, luck, every book being unique, the lack of a formula for success, and thrills.