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It is difficult to express the peculiar mixture of elation and pride one felt coming upon the Australian Bookshop in Paris. There it was, utterly national, precious, devoted to writers mostly unkwn in Europe, yet it sat conspicuously on the Left Bank, a short walk across from the Louvre, as a feisty affirmation of Australian literary assertion and incursion. GAIL JONES At a time in her life when friends were retiring and spending time with their grandchildren, a night out in Paris while she visited her musician son inspired Elaine Lewis to dream of a daring venture in this most enchanting of cities. Her vision was more than just fanciful. After doing the necessary research and groundwork, Elaine packed her bags and left Australia to open, on the Left Bank, the first Australian bookshop in central Paris. Full of incredible energy and enthusiasm, and with the help of locals and visiting Australians, she created her shop in the heart of the St-Germain-des-Pres literary quarter. Situated just around the corner from Notre Dame, her cosy literary haven quickly became an important cultural centre and a home away from home for Australian writers and artists in Paris. Writers who
Formerly a music educator, Elaine Lewis worked as a writer for over 10 years in both Melbourne and Sydney, publishing educational material and song-books. In 1996 she created the Australian Bookshop in Paris to promote Australian writers. Between 1996 to 2001 she organized more than 70 readings for visiting Australian authors, artists and musicians. Her love of the French language led her to commence translating the works of poets from France, Belgium and Canada. These translations have been published in France.