who is this (barely) unknown writer with 15 million pounds?

With almost fifty novels, “Françoise Bourdin conquered a wide readership, with her family stories, her dramas and her joys, her soft and bitter writing”, underlined the boss of Edis Michele Benbunan. All are almost guaranteed best sellers, some adapted for television, such as “Terre indigo”.

Close to its readers

“The team of the group (Editis) preserves the memory of an imaginative author, rigorous in writing and close to her readers, of a passionate and independent woman, who likes to talk about her love of speed, for those horses and cars.” 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.

“People who disparage what I wrote clearly haven’t read a single paragraph. It’s very unfair. It’s a priori elitist,” he defended himself. But “I didn’t disappoint my readership”. “Those who struggle to read me is finding pleasure in it. “At one point, we thought my readers, mostly women and over 50, would collapse. “In reality, that’s not what happened. My readership was filled with girls who found one of my books with their mother and bought several. Continuous and very beautiful…”, he explained.

family of artists

Born in Paris in 1952, Françoise Bourdin came from a family of artists. His parents, Georges Bourdin and Geori Boué, were famous opera singers, who toured abroad. The novelist remembers seeing his mother interpret the title role of “Mireille”, Charles Gounod’s opera, at the theater of Arles. “When Mireille died in the arms of her lover, I began to cry with all the tears in my body, surprised to see the public, standing, applauding a lot,” he likes to say.

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“I hardly saw my parents,” he said, without bitterness. He has since maintained an intoxicating impression of freedom. He discovered literature by drawing from his father’s extensive library and was passionate about Giono, Colette, Mauriac; then Baudelaire and Nerval, replaced by Proust, Tolstoy, the Brontë brothers, Sartre, Zola, Dumas and Hugo…

Need to be “quick”

The “ironic” teenager also wrote short stories and soon a first novel (“Les soleils humids”) published by Julliard in 1972 when he was still underage. A second novel, De Vagues Herbes Jaunes, appeared the following year and was adapted for television by Josée Dayan.

His father’s death in 1973 turned the cards upside down. Françoise Bourdin feels the need to intoxicate herself with new sensations. There is the “devouring passion” for horses. In his little study, he kept a picture of himself at full speed (and without a helmet!) on a track in Maisons-Laffitte. He also owns a Triumph Spitfire – a small English convertible – to satisfy his need to “hurry up.”

His passion for writing was reborn after the birth of his daughters, Fabienne and Frédérique. Since 1994, the date of his first collaboration with Belfond, he has published thirty-six novels. His last, “Un si beau horizon” was published in early 2022 by Plon editions where he followed his editor for more than ten years, Céline Thoulouze.

Attached to the region

Interviewed by “Sud Ouest” in 2018, the novelist recounted spending his childhood holidays at Cap Ferret and underlined his attachment to the Médoc. Moreover, in “Les Vendanges de Juillet”, this is where the action takes place. “I came back after a few years, and I wrote ”Les Années passion”, the story of a journalist in Bordeaux. I really like this town, the partially closed world of trade, the Mauriac-style atmosphere, and Mauriac himself. “Le Testament d’Ariane”, which takes place in the moors of the forest, bathed in the same atmosphere”, he specifically said.

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