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Jean-Claude Mourlevat  [ France ]

Biography

Jean-Claude Mourlevat Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2005.

Bibliography

Le jeune loup qui n’avait pas de nom
Milan
Touluse, 1998
Ill: : Jean-Luc Bénazet

La balafre
Pocket
Paris, 1998
Ill: Christian Heinrich

A comme voleur
Pocket
Paris, 1998
Ill: Christian Heinrich

Le Voyage de Zoé
Bordas
Paris, 1999

L’Enfant Océan
Pocket
Paris, 1999
Ill: Christian Heinrich

Les Billes du diable
Nathan
Paris, 2000
Ill: Jean-Francois Martin

Le Petit royaume
Mango
Paris, 2000
Ill: Nicole Claveloux

Regarde bien
Nathan
Paris, 2001
Ill: Alice Charbin

Je voudrais rentrer à la maison
Arléa
Paris, 2002

L’homme qui ne possédait rien
Thierry Magnier
Paris, 2002

L’homme à l’oreille coupée
Thierry Magnier
Paris, 2003

La ballade de Cornebique
Gallimard
Paris, 2003
Ill: Clément Oubrerie

La troisième vengeance de Robert Poutifard
Gallimard
Paris, 2004
Ill: Beatrice Alemagna

L’homme qui soulevait des pierre
Thierry Magnier
Paris, 2004

Sous le grand banian
Rue du monde
Paris, 2005
Ill: Nathalie Novi

Kolos et les quatre voleurs
Hatier
Paris, 2005
Ill: Isabelle Chatellard

Le combat d'hiver
Gallimard
Paris, 2006

Hannah – Der Fluss, der rückwärts fließt
Carlsen
Hamburg, 2007
Übersetzung: Maja von Vogel

Tomek – Der Fluss, der rückwärts fließt
Carlsen
Hamburg, 2007
Übersetzung: Tobias Scheffel

La prodigieuse aventure de Tillmann Ostergrimm
Gallimard
Paris, 2007
Ill: Marcelino Truong

Übersetzer: Tobias Scheffel, Maja von Vogel

Jean-Claude Mourlevat was born in 1952 in the Auvergne and studied in Strasbourg, Toulouse, Stuttgart, Bonn and Paris. Initially, he worked as a teacher in France and Germany, at the same time as training in drama.  He performed over 1200 times with his Solo-Programs »Anatole« (1987) and »Guedoule« (1990).  In the following years he dedicated himself to theatre, particularly as an actor, a clown and a mime artist.  Mourlevat abandoned his school profession in 1990 in order to stage the dramas of Brecht, Cocteau and Shakespeare.  In 1997 he began to write for children and adolescents and published his first book »Le Balafre« (1998; Engl: The Facial Scar).  Since then, he has published short stories, narratives and novels, which have been received enthusiastically by critics and readers.

Mourlevat's texts address the intelligence of the heart and the soul. His stories circle around leavetaking, departure and being on the road: »To die for something to be reborn for something else.  To say goodbye to those people, that disappear in the dark, and already to identify the silhouette of others who have given notice of their coming, and whom one will equally leave behind, one day.  Do we not feel such things most intensely in childhood and youth?«  With suspense, humour and a sense of the poetic, Mourlevat tells of children in the most unusual of circumstances and life situations.  Furthermore, he tells of the adventures of scurrilous animal figures as in »La ballade de Cornebique« (2003; Engl: The Ballad of Cornebique) in which a billy-goat plays the banjo and sings the blues. Courageous, fresh and dynamic, his characters set out on a journey into the land of imagination, where they must pass fairytale-like tests. However, Mourlevat never remains entirely in the colourful and imaginary world: the reality of daily life, loneliness, alienation, melancholy, violence and the painful aspects of life, similarly characterise the foundations of his stories.

Based on Perrault's »Tom Thumb«, Mourlevat tells in »L’enfant Océan« (1999; Engl: »The Pull of the Ocean«, 2006) a modern fairy tale about seven brothers, who leave their parent’s house one night and flee to the sea in order to escape a terrible danger. Led by the youngest brother Yann, the brothers lose themselves in an increasingly surreal world.  The novel is made up of multiple voices, from the perspective of a social worker, who wants to help Yann, or a truck driver, who gives the siblings a ride on the way.  The work was awarded with the Prix Sorcières (2000).  In Mourlevat's magical novel »La rivière à l’envers. Part I: Tomek« (2000; Engl: The River which Flows Backwards. Part I: Tomek), the thirteen year-old Tomek makes his way on the adventurous journey, in search of the water of the River Qjar, which supposedly makes one immortal. As in many of his works one finds in this story references to children’s book classics as well as to his own stories.

For Mourlevat translating literature is like »taking vacation from the own writing«. Thus he has translated diverse children’s and young people's books from German; the latest of his translations being Michael Ende’s »Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer« (Engl: »Jim Button and Luke the Engine-Driver« and »Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13« (Engl: »Jim Button and the Wild 13«. He lives near Saint-Etienne with his wife and children.

© international literature festival berlin

[http://www.jcmourlevat.com]