Culture. Novelist Françoise Bourdin is dead

The successful novelist died at the age of 70, announced on Monday, December 26 Edis, the parent company of his publisher Belfond. In 2015, he ranked seventh among French writers in the number of books sold.

“I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Françoise Bourdin, to her two daughters, Fabienne and Frédérique, to her grandchildren, I think of all the teams, from Belfond, from Plon and from Pocket, who worked with him for so many years, as well as his millions of loyal readers,” said the group’s chief executive, Michèle Benbunan.

Françoise Bourdin “conquered a wide readership, with her family stories, her dramas and her joys, her soft and bitter writing”, continues Michèle Benbunan. All are almost guaranteed bestsellers, some adapted for television. “The team of the group (Editis) preserves the memory of an imaginative author, strict in writing and close to her readers, of a passionate and independent woman, who likes to talk about her love of speed, for on horses and cars”.

More than 15 million books have been sold

Outside the Parisian literary milieu, described as “famous”, this lively novelist with an overflowing imagination, born in 1952 in Paris, monopolized the best sellers for more than 30 years. He has sold over 15 million books, many family stories. “There is a certain contempt for popular literature”, AFP lamented in 2019 the novelist who has sold more than 15 million books, translated into 12 languages.

In 2022, Françoise Bourdin published her 49e work, What a beautiful horizon. “At first, it bothered me to be ignored, I thought it was unfair, she explained to us in May. And then afterwards, the readership growing, I told myself that it’s not a problem anymore. The public will always choose, who is right. And to consider that if it is “popular”, because it appeals to the greatest number, it is a little dubious or in bad taste, it is contempt! »

Françoise Bourdin comes from an artistic family. So his parents were opera singers, Roger Bourdin and Géori Boué.

“I had a happy childhood, a complex and funny youth… I come from a family of actors, life at home was crazy, my parents were not there, we lived in the middle of the costumes of the scene. In high school everyone’s fantasy exists. But if I tell my life as it is, no one will believe me! It’s great but it makes the world view very special. »

He published his first novel in 1972, Wet Sun. He was 19 years old then. The following year he published Waves of yellow grass (to be adapted for television by Josée Dayan).

However, Françoise Bourdin decided to take a break in the 1980s to devote herself to the education of her two daughters, born in 1981 and 1982. editors, then published Mano mano (Denoel) and blood and gold (The round table).

“In the early 1990s, I said to myself, ‘Okay, you’ve published two good books, it won’t be difficult!’ And in fact it was. I sent my manuscripts, no one wanted them. Obviously, I was forgotten. »

“I’m having fun writing a gay book”

His works are characterized by stories that, generally, have a happy ending. “I think you always have to give people a little bit of hope. One day I want to write more literary and more dramatic stories (Like a brother). I know it will sell for less, but I want to see if I can. But in general, it’s more fun to write a gay book. To put the characters in an impossible situation, and know that we can get them out! It is always necessary to keep the fun of writing a story, otherwise the reader will not read it. »

Despite the success and television film adaptations of some of his books, the novelist loves his silence. “I prefer to be left to write at home, with no one telling me what to write, or how. This is a truly solitary activity. »

The novelist with the slightly stony voice of an unrepentant smoker chose to live far from Paris, and claimed to write “stories like us”, centered on family stories.

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