The things of life: François-Henri Désérable

28 November 2019 photo Francesca Mantovani
He says that everything leaves a mark on him, "and for a long time." You're already getting a taste of how serious is this ex-hockey player who left the sport at 29 to become a writer.

His debut collection is about the French Revolution, and his first novel is about 19th-century mathematician Evariste Galois, who died at age 20 in a duel after changing how we think about algebra. Then François-Henri writes A Certain Mr Piekielny, which novelizes the life of the writer Romain Gary. Thus, the young Frenchman reaches the lists of literary awards (even to the finale of the most important one - Goncourt), and the reason for talking to him is that he also enters another list - the one with the guests at the Sofia Literary Festival in a week. We'll talk more about the events in the next issue, but before that we talk to Francois-Henri the way that he is used to - with a generous sprinkle of quotes from favorite books and films that he glides on confidently.


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