Quai du Polar 2023: the influence of #Metoo on black literature

Movement Me Too freed the voices of women victims of violence and now irrigates the world of black literature. Thrillers, thrillers, mystery books. Women writers embrace gender codes, to restore and denounce violence against women. On the occasion of

the 19th edition of the Quai du thriller festivalwhich takes place in Lyon from March 31 to April 2, Affinités offers you a special program with Alice Geraud And Helene Couturier. The first publishes a book-investigation

Sambre, radioscopy of a news item

published by JC Lattes, on the case of the “rapist of the Sambre” who was able to rage for many years without being worried. The second, comes out in

the Rivages Noir collection, his latest novel entitled From woman to woman. Two genres, an investigation and a fiction, but two stories that reinvent black writing after #MeToo. So, how to adapt its history, its style after such a movement?

The theory

3 mins

Alice Géraud tells us about the beginning of her investigation and the harrowing stories told by the women victims of the Sambre rapist, Dino Scala. This is often described as “a man without history“, as in many other miscellaneous facts. However, he does have a story, but it was denied. During his first marriage, he was accused by his wife’s sisters of sexual assault. These young women n “were not believed at the time. Dino Scala’s crimes were therefore able to continue with complete impunity. For thirty years, he carried out sexual assaults and rapes on public roads. Thirty years without being questioned or arrested. “Some were not believed. All felt that they were neither heard nor listened to. […] They speak of their interrogation at the police station as a second rape.”, says Alice Géraud.

At the trial in assizes, Dino Scala is condemned for fifty-four crimes, even if it is estimated that the supposed number of victims must be much higher. On the side of justice, since Me Toothings are changing, but slowly. “Justice is aware of its past mistakes and tries to change things, but it does so with clumsiness and a great lack of means” explains Alice Géraud. The law is insufficiently thought out for rapes and the seriality of rapes is not yet taken into account. The position of writer and journalist was special during the investigation. The words of these women were abused and still remained fragile. The heart of Alice Géraud’s literary project therefore consisted in restoring these forgotten testimonies carefully and with as much acuity as possible.

Courtroom sketch made on June 10, 2022 which shows Dino Scala (R) and his lawyer Margaux Mathieu (L) at the opening of his trial.
Courtroom sketch made on June 10, 2022 which shows Dino Scala (R) and his lawyer Margaux Mathieu (L) at the opening of his trial.


Hélène Couturier is also inspired by reality, but to write a fiction around the figure of Elias. “Elias spends his life looking for women. This man is a ticking time bomb. Here, his family history determines his relationship to the world.”, explains Hélène Couturier. The character of Elias will arouse a lot of empathy in the reader and a malaise immediately settles in the latter. Hélène Couturier’s project was initially a nocturnal odyssey, and it became darker and darker as she wrote. For the writer,“It’s unbearable to excuse someone who hurts, because he himself suffered violence when he was younger. There is no excuse for violence”. Elias is a likeable character. He has respect for his mother, for his neighbor, and for a certain Juliette. It is in this that the novel intrigues and disturbs the reader.

Me Too has not changed the way Hélène Couturier writes, even if what happens in the world touches and influences her. Me Too, upsets, has gone too far, perhaps too much, but will give birth to something new, beneficial for future generations. Hélène Couturier seems to be convinced of this.

At the end of the program we find the chronicle ofOriane Jeancourt from the magazine

Defector. The last April issue is devoted to the writer Kafka. The opportunity for Oriane Jeancourt to tell us about the publication in France of the first volume of the reference biography on the Czech author,

Kafka. Volume I. The time of decisions published by Le Cherche Midi and written by the German Reiner Stach, over 20 years ago.

The cultural awakening

25 mins

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