Meet the writer: Jean-Claude Mourlevat

Jean-Claude Mourlevat, who was awarded the ALMA (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award) in 2021, will be talking about storytelling and otherworldliness to literary journalist Claude Combet.
Picture of Jean-Claude Mourlevat with a grey background, holding his chin.

At the presentation ceremony for the ALMA Award — often considered to be the most important children’s literature prize in the world — the jury stated: “Jean-Claude Mourlevat is a brilliant renewer of fairy tale traditions, open to both hardship and beauty. Time and space are suspended in his fictional worlds, and eternal themes of love and longing, vulnerability and war are portrayed in precise and dreamlike prose. Mourlevat’s ever-surprising work pins the fabric of ancient epic onto a contemporary reality.”

Jean-Claude Mourlevat was born in 1952 in the village of Ambert in the Auvergne region. He began his career as a German teacher before changing direction and working as a stage director, actor and clown in France and Germany. The theatre led him towards writing, and in 1997 he published his first illustrated children’s book, Histoire de l’enfant et de l’œuf. In 1999, L’Enfant océan (The Pull of the Ocean), which tells the story of seven brothers who run away from home to escape the clutches of their parents, became a worldwide best-seller. Le Combat d’hiver (Winter Song), a novel for teenagers published in 2006, has been translated into some twenty languages and received several awards. Jean-Claude Mourlevat’s latest book, Jefferson, published in 2018, features a hedgehog who loves reading.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is an international distinction created in 2002 by the Swedish government in honour of the writer Astrid Lindgren. It is awarded every year to individuals or organisations around the world whose work possesses a high level of artistry imbued with the humanistic spirit that characterises Astrid Lindgren’s books. The Award, worth five million Swedish Krona, is often called the “Nobel Prize for children’s literature”.

In partnership with Paris Mômes.

Useful information:

  • Jean-Claude Mourlevat will be in conversation with literary journalist Claude Combet.
  • Admission free, prior booking not required.
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