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Gilles Leroy

Guest at the 2018 Books & Music Festival

Born in 1958 in Bagneux, Gilles Leroy integrates after a baccalaureate in experimental sciences hypokhâgne and khâgne from Lakanal high school in Sceaux. He obtained a DEUG in letters and arts in 1977, a license then a master's degree in modern letters in 1979 for a thesis devoted to Henri Michaux. Without a taste for university, he abandoned the curriculum, traveled and studied the American and Japanese literatures that impressed him. The American novel, above all, becomes the paradigm of the modern novel and the incentive to write. While working at night on his first texts, Gilles Leroy worked in various rescue 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 publishes his first novel, Habibi, in 1987, which will be followed by a dozen others, including The Russian Lover (2002) Growing Up (2004) et Champsecret (2005).

Several of his works have an autobiographical dimension (The Russian Lover, The Masters of the World, The Public Gardens, etc.), going as far as self-fiction with Champsecret. Among the themes at the center of his novels, we find the figures of an adored mother and a child father, as well as homosexuality, the difficulty of loving, the difficulty of getting out of it when you are born at the bottom. of the scale and, to use Fassbinder's words, 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 acerbic social criticism.

In 2007, Gilles Leroy received the Goncourt Prize for his twelfth novel, Alabama Song, which will be very successful in France and abroad. He slips into the skin of Zelda Fitzgerald and brilliantly recounts the tragic fate of the wife of the writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald by mixing biographical and imaginary elements. At the Goncourt Prize presentation, Bernard Pivot praised him as a “flamboyant style” author, while Françoise Chandernagor declared herself enthusiastic about her “extraordinary writing quality”.

Will follow Zola Jackson (2010, Summer Book Prize), Sleep with your loved ones (2012) Nina Simone novel (2013, Books & Music Prize of the city of Deauville), The World According to Billy Boy (2015, Marcel Pagnol award) and In the westerns (2017).

He is also the author of an autobiographical essay, Lonely castle (Grasset, 2016).