The CNL is a public institution of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Its mission is to support all the participants in the publishing process – authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and those who organize literary events – via various measures and commissions. It thus plays an active role in francophone creativity and dissemination.

Founded in 1946 as the Caisse nationale des lettres – a veritable driving force serving the book world since the 1980s and under the aegis of Jean Gattegno – the CNL attained a new level of autonomy in 2010 by acquiring a president independent of the Director of Books and Reading of the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

To fund its operations, the CNL benefits from specially allocated fiscal taxes: a fee levied on the sale of copying and printing materials, and a fee on publishing companies’ sales turnover. The total amount of its activities represents 42 million euros. The CNL employs 70 persons.

Book publishing professionals participate in defining the central axes of CNL policy, and sit on the Board of Directors, presided by Vincent Monadé. More than 200 such professionals are members of the 19 committees that meet several times per year to consider funding requests. The activity of these committees also draws upon a vast network of external contributors – readers and reporters – who comprise a third layer of experts, and contribute to the quality of the CNL’s work via their experience and expertise.

Located in the Hôtel d’Avejan in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the CNL is also a forum for gatherings, exchanges, and professional initiatives. This characteristic gives it a special and original place in France’s cultural and administrative landscape.