© Juan Miguel Aguilera, spanish artist and speculative fiction writer
The Imaginales, the Festival of the Imaginary Worlds is an event held every year in May since 2002 in Épinal (a small town in northeastern France and the capital – prefecture – of the Vosges department, on the Moselle river, 312 km east from Paris). The festival is organized by the City of Épinal, have been created and directed by Bernard Visse, and the artistic direction is provided by Stephanie Nicot.
It is a “salon littéraire” devoted to imaginary stories (fantasy, fantastika, anticipation, magical realism, historical fiction, fairy tales and legends). The name “Imaginales” is a contraction of the words “imaginary”, “magic” and “Épinal”.
Juan Miguel Aguilera
After Germany, it’s Spain who will be honored at the 2014 Imaginales. The spanish Guest of Honor is the speculative fiction writer and artist Juan Miguel Aguilera ( the creator of the 2014 Imaginales’ poster).
Other hispanophone guests are the cuban writer and artist Yoss (José Miguel Sánchez Gómez) and the writer Leandro Àvalos Blacha (Argentina) :
Yoss Leandro Àvalos Blacha
Other Guests of Honour are Christopher Priest (UK), Joe Abercrombie (UK), Juan Miguel Aguilera (Spain), Chloe Neill (US), Cindy Van Wilder, Sara Doke, Stefan Platteau, Yaël Nazé (Belgium), Marika Gallman (Switzerland), Maxime Coulombe (Canada), Yoss (Cuba), Leandro Àvalos Blacha (Argentina) and the french writers Jean-Pierre Andrevon, Ayerdahl, Jean-Claude Dunyach, Francis Berthelot, Pierre Bordage, Lionel Davoust, Jeanne-A Debats, Sylvie Denis, Olivier Gay, Thomas Geha, Laurent Genefort, Johan Heliot, Jean-Philippe Jaworski, Sylvie Lainé, Xavier Mauméjean, Pierre Pevel, etc.
Every year since 2002, more than a hundred authors, illustrators, cartoonists, literary critics, filmmakers, scientists, are guests of the City of Epinal. French authors of course, but also Americans, British, Italians, Spaniards, Cubans, Australians, Belgians, Swiss …
Among them, renowned authors like Juan Miguel Aguilera, Brian Aldiss, Jean-Pierre Andrevon, Ayerdhal, Peter Curling , Francois Ceresa , Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud ( Prix Renaudot), Philippe Claudel (Prix Goncourt) , Yves Coppens (the famous paleontologist ), Jea -Claude Dunyach, Valerio Evangelisti , Jean-Louis Fetjaine , Christian Grenier, Alain Grousset , Johan Heliot, Robin Hobb , Robert Holdstock, Gérard Klein, Roland Lehoucq (the astrophysicist ), Henri Loevenbruck , Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Pagel, Pierre Pelot, Gilles Servat (Breton origin singer and author of celtic fantasy ), Robert Sheckley, Simonay Bernard, Jean-Michel Truong, Antoine Volodin (Inter Book Award 2000) , Bernard Werber … The list is long already !
Imaginales take place in the Parc du Cours, and some initiatives in several parts of the city. Many activities are offered, including literary cafes and roundtables, conferences and debates, exhibitions, films, animations … Signings in the Book Bubble (Bulle du Livre) are, among many other possibilities, opportunities for the public to meet the guest authors.
The Imaginales Awards were established in May 2002. Five awards’ categories are presented at the festival.
The oldest (established at the first festival in 2002) is the Imaginales Award that recognizes the best works of fantasy in various categories. Since 2004 the Claude Seignolle Award deals with folklore, and since 2007 the Another Earth (Une Autre Terre) Award is dedicated to “a book of anticipation putting a great emphasis on environmental concerns and on the concept of sustainable development”. The Imaginales High School’s Students Award and the Collegians Award are in turn judged by a panel of young readers from the schools and colleges in Lorraine.
The Imaginales Awards recognizes the best works of fantasy of the year in seven categories (1.000 euros for the first five categories, 500 euros for the last two):
• the Best Francophone Novel
• the Best Foreign Novel translated into French
• the Best Work for Youth
• the Best Illustration
• the Best Comics
• The Best Short Story
• the Jury Special Prize
The permanent jury is composed of:
• Jacques Grasser – President, Deputy Mayor of Epinal
• Jacques Baudou, Le Monde daily – literary critic
• Anne Besson, professor at the University of Artois
• Annaïg Houesnard, translator
• Jérôme Vincent, site manager of ActuSF
• Jean-Claude Vantroyen, the Belgian daily Le Soir head of culture departement
• Bernard Visse, director of the Imaginales festival
Since 2006, the entrance to Imaginales is free of charge.
The 2014 Imaginales Award to be given on Saturday, May 24th, at 19h, within the Magic Mirror Pavilion :
Best Francophone Novel
“Même pas mort (Rois du monde -1)”/ Not Even Dead (Kings of the World -1) by Jean-Philippe Jaworski
Best Foreign Novel (translated into french)
“Who Fears Death” (Qui a peur de la mort ?) by Nnedi Okorafor
Best Short Story (translated into french)
“A Wild and a Wicked Youth” /”Un jeune homme de mauvaise vie” by Ellen Kushner, in Fiction n° 17
Best Youth Novel
“Les Outrepasseurs (Les Héritiers -1)”/”The Outerpassers (Heirs -1)” by Cindy Van Wilder
Noëmie Chevalier for “Arcadia” by Fabrice Colin
The Jury’s Special Award
“Les Portes d’or (Oghams -2)”/”The Golden Gates (Ogham -2)” by Krystal Camprubi
Organized by the City of Épinal, the Imaginales Festival has a lot of support , especially from the National Book Centre (Centre National du Livre), the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs of Lorraine, the Regional Council of Lorraine, the Vosges General Council and from private partners.
The Imaginales is an ambitious and original concept (exploring all the territories of the imagination), designed to appeal to the widest audience. Cultural exchanges, intelectually passionate meetings, human contacts, friendliness ! Here the tone of the Imaginales !
© Juan Miguel Aguilera