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"Tell me your river"

Starting in the academic year 2016/2017, IFGR is launching a project on writing about rivers. In collaboration with different partners, the first pilot experiments will start in schools in Vienne and Lyon.

The aim of this project aimed at French schools in the overseas territories and abroad focuses on France’s main rivers, to foster dialogue between young writers living in river valleys.

Why write about rivers?

The river is a subject that has always been present in literature due to its role in forging civilisations, its presence in urban development, and its symbolic reach. It is also present in other types of writing, such as travel journals that tell of the journeys of writers, reporters and travellers from its source to its mouth.

Seen through the ways they are used and their vulnerability to the effects of climate change, rivers can also be used as tools for teaching (energy, navigation, tourism, irrigation/agriculture, folklore).

Writing about rivers also means discovering more about the economic, scientific, social and cultural life of our societies.

“The river is the grammar of life: it links in the same way as grammar links words”,
Erik Orsenna.

The objectives

  • Develop creativity by giving one or several frameworks for writing (the river).
  • Provide knowledge and understanding of a resource that concerns us all and which remains relatively unknown: the role of irrigation in agriculture, river fauna and flora, the place of water in the history of our cities…
  • Get different regions of France and the world to dialogue with each other.

The forms of the project

The project will be carried out in different forms:

  • A writing competition based on the beginning of a story proposed by Erik Orsenna to young writers.
  • The organisation of writing workshops that focus on the river throughout the year in and outside schools.

The start of the next round

A meeting between Erik Orsenna and the pupils of several schools on 13 and 14 September 2016, in Vienne.

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