Erik Orsenna

© Bernard Matussière

“I write every morning, for two hours. There are twenty-two hours left, which is more than enough to keep me busy.” Author of a number of novels, including La Vie comme à Lausanne (Roger Nimier Prize 1978) and L’Exposition colonial (Prix Goncourt 1988), Erik Orsenna is also a member of the French academy, a researcher/professor and a devoted traveller. He is interested in political and economic life, the environment and global issues.   

Born in 1947, he studied philosophy and political science before turning his attention to economics. He submitted his thesis in 1974 and published his first novel in the same year, Loyola’s Blues, under the pseudonym Orsenna (his real name is Érik Arnoult). From 1974 to 1985, he was a researcher/professor, while also holding a position as a political representative. Thus in 1981, the Ministre de la Coopération, Jean-Pierre Cot, called on him to assist him with portfolios related to raw materials and multilateral negotiations. He entered the Élysée in 1983 as a cultural advisor. He definitively left the university in 1985, when he became a member of the Conseil d’État.

Erik Orsenna also continued with his literary activities, which opened the doors of the Academy to him, where he became an elected member in 1998. The author of seven novels, he has also written tales in French, such as La Grammaire est une chanson douce (2001), as well as scientific and economic books (Portrait du Gulf Stream, 2004; L’Avenir de l’eau, 2008). Besides his writing, travel, the sea and music all play an essential role in his life.



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