Gilles Leroy

Invited to the 2018 Books & Music Festival

Born in 1958 in Bagneux, Gilles Leroy graduated from the hypokhâgne and khâgne of the Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux. He obtained a DEUG in literature and arts in 1977, a licence and then a maîtrise in modern literature in 1979 for a thesis on Henri Michaux. With no taste for university, he abandoned his studies, travelled and studied American and Japanese literature alone, which impressed him. The American novel, above all, became the paradigm of the modern novel and the incentive to write. While working on his first texts at night, Gilles Leroy worked at various relief jobs and then became a journalist for the written and audiovisual press. He left journalism in 1991 and left Paris in 1995 to settle in the countryside, where he devoted himself to writing.

Gilles Leroy published his first novel, Habibi, in 1987, which was followed by a dozen others, including L'Amant russe (2002), Grandir (2004) and Champsecret (2005).

Several of his works have an autobiographical dimension(L'Amant russe, Les maîtres du monde, Les Jardins publics, etc.), going as far as autofiction with Champsecret. Among the themes at the center of his novels are the figures of a beloved mother and a child father, as well as homosexuality, the difficulty of loving, the difficulty of getting by when one is born at the bottom of the ladder and, in the words of Fassbinder, the "difficulty of changing things in this world. His characters gravitate in a universe that is both tender and violent, in which childhood is often cruel and social criticism acrid.

In 2007, Gilles Leroy received the Goncourt Prize for his twelfth novel, Alabama Song, which was a great success in France and abroad. He slipped into the shoes of Zelda Fitzgerald and brilliantly recounted the tragic fate of the wife of the writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald by mixing biographical and imaginary elements. At the Goncourt Prize ceremony, Bernard Pivot hailed him as an author "with a flamboyant style", while Françoise Chandernagor declared herself enthusiastic about his "extraordinary quality of writing".

Zola Jackson (2010, Prix Eté du Livre), Dormir avec ceux qu'on aime (2012), Nina Simone roman (2013, Prix Livres & Musiques de la ville de Deauville), Le Monde selon Billy Boy (2015, prix Marcel Pagnol) and Dans les westerns (2017) will follow.

He is also the author of an autobiographical essay, Le château solitude (Grasset, 2016).


Contact us :
+33 (0)2 31 14 40 00

Our tourist information offices :

Residence de l'Horloge
Quai de l'Impératrice Eugénie
14800 Deauville
See the opening hours

Place Jean Mermoz
14640 Villers-sur-Mer
See the opening hours

32 bis avenue Michel d'Ornano
14910 Blonville-sur-Mer
See the opening hours

40 rue du General Leclerc
14113 Villerville
See the opening hours

20 Place Lemercier
14800 Touques
See the opening hours

Promenade Louis Delamare
(behind the first aid station)
14800 Tourgéville
See the opening hours