Gaëlle Bohé

Why wasn't there a literary prize intended to promote independent publishing? I answered this question by taking action!

Gaëlle Bohé, literary programmer and founding president of the Hors Concours literary prize, has become familiar with the many book-world professions over the past twenty years.

Updated on 26/08/2019

2 min

Gaëlle Bohé has been a bookseller, librarian, journalist, author, the facilitator for a network of independent publishers, and a programmer for festivals such as the Paris Book Fair since 2013 and La Nuit de la Lecture since 2016: a complete tour of literary professions which she embarked on some twenty years ago. In 2016, she founded the Académie Hors Concours, which recognises writing from independent publishers by involving booksellers, librarians and journalists.

The Hors Concours Award is dedicated to promoting independent French-language publishing: “it’s about showcasing publishing houses which are small in size, but not in creativity”. The selection process takes a collaborative approach which is unusual for this type of event: rather than the Académie Hors Concours offering a selection to the jurors, the publishers submit an extract from one of their latest publications for consideration. Forty of these are then selected by the Academy to compete. The jury is made up of 300 book professionals, over 200 readers and around 430 secondary school students. The students select their own winner: the Hors Concours des Lycéens, an award dedicated to their interests.

A global perspective is central to the approach taken by Gaëlle Bohé, who took an 18-month trip across 17 countries in Africa, South America, Oceania and Asia 10 years ago. Today, 20% of the 2019 Hors Concours selection is international: “Our system allows us to discover publishers which we would not have otherwise encountered, to get out of our comfort zone and discover surprising texts and authors from all over the world”.

  • 2003


    Gaëlle Bohébegins her career as a journalist which takes her from sustainable development to cultural news, writing for Novethic, Nova Mag, La Vie, Libération and others for 6 years.

  • 2013


    Gaëlle Bohé becomes a literary programmer for Livre Paris, a collaboration that continues to this day.

  • 2016


    Gaëlle Bohé founds the Académie Hors Concours.

  • 2019


    Gaëlle Bohé is appointed Head of Cultural Action and Communication for the Société des Gens de Lettres (SGDL) writers’ association.

The Institut français and the project

As part of a partnership between the Institut français and the Académie Hors Concours, the winning works are distributed via Culturethèque. From July to October 2019, Culturethèque users are invited to read the excerpts available there and to vote online for the 2019 winner. Find out more.

L'institut français, LAB