Frédéric Beigbeder

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Frédéric Beigbeder
Frédéric-Beigbeder.jpg
Born Frédéric Beigbeder
(1965-09-21)21 September 1965
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Notable award(s) Prix Interallié in 2003 for his novel Windows on the World, Prix Renaudot in 2009 for his book Un roman français

Frédéric Beigbeder (French: [fʁedeʁik bɛɡbeˈde]; born 21 September 1965 at Neuilly-sur-Seine) is a French writer, literary critic and a TV presenter. He won the Prix Interallié in 2003 for his novel Windows on the World and the Prix Renaudot in 2009 for his book Un roman français. He is also the creator of the Flore and Sade Awards. In addition, he is the executive director of Lui, a French adult entertainment magazine.

Biography[edit]

Beigbeder was born into a privileged family in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine. His mother, Christine de Chasteigner, is a translator of mawkish novels (Barbara Cartland et al.); his brother is Charles Beigbeder, a businessman. He studied at the Lycée Montaigne and Louis-le-Grand, and later at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. Upon graduation at the age of 24, he began work as a copywriter in Young & Rubicam,[1] then as an author, broadcaster, publisher, and dilettante.

In 1994, Beigbeder founded the "Prix de Flore", which takes its name from the famous and plush Café de Flore in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The prize is awarded annually to a promising young French author. Vincent Ravalec, Jacques A. Bertrand, Michel Houellebecq are among those who have won the prize. In 2004, the tenth anniversary of the prize, it was awarded to the only American to ever receive it, Bruce Benderson. Three of Beigbeder's novels, 99 Francs, "L'amour dure trois ans" and Windows on the World, are being adapted for the cinema. The film of Windows on the World will be directed by the French/English director Max Pugh.

In 2002, he presented the TV talk show "Hypershow" on French channel Canal +, co-presented with Jonathan Lambert, Sabine Crossen and Henda. That year he also advised French Communist Party candidate Robert Hue in the presidential election.

In 2005, he was, with others authors such as Alain Decaux, Richard Millet and Jean-Pierre Thiollet, one of the Beirut Book Fair's guests in the Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center, commonly (BIEL).

He worked for a few years as an editor for Flammarion. He left Flammarion in 2006.

His novel Un roman français was awarded the Prix Renaudot in November 2009.[2]

He writes columns in Le Figaro Magazine since 2010.

Literary work[edit]

Writing style[edit]

Frédéric Beigbeder’s writing style includes both humour and self-mockery. His books are full of high-low cultural references. [3]

Influences[edit]

Frédéric Beigbeder's writing style has been influenced by authors of many styles. As a child and as a teenager, he read science-fiction novels written by American writers such as Norman Spinrad, Philip K. Dick and William Gibson.

His influences also come from his contemporaries as well as more traditional French authors such as Antoine Blondin and François Nourissier.

In addition, his work is clearly influenced by early 20th-century American literature, marked by emblematic writers who are torn between their literary aspirations and a party-fuelled carefree lifestyle, like Ernest Hemingway with his book A Moveable Feast and Fitzgerald with his famous novel The Great Gatsby.

Literary genres[edit]

Frédéric Beigbeder's work can be organised in three main categories :

  • Autobiographical novels

This style of book is about the author's life although he does not explicitly describe them as an autobiography. The most recurrent topic is his relationships with his family. Love Lasts Three Years and A French Novel are part of this genre.

  • Satirical novels

This genre reflects the real world (featuring the names of famous brands and famous people) and includes a lot of irony. Holiday in a coma and £9.99 are part of this genre.

  • Non-fiction novels

With Windows on the World, Frédéric Beigbeder tries his hand at non-fiction novel, a specific genre which describes real historical figures and actual events woven together with fictitious conversations and using the storytelling techniques of fiction. In this specific book, the author imagines what the final moments of the 9/11 victims were like. His work may be compared with In Cold Blood written by Truman Capote.

Themes[edit]

  • Criticism of the consumer society

Frédéric Beigbeder was deeply marked by his carrier in advertising which left him disgusted with today's society. Through his literary work, he criticizes our hopeless consumer society with humour and caricatures.

  • Metaphysical quest of Post-modern Man

His whole work expresses existential angst. The characters are constantly trying to give meaning to their lives which have lost all of the traditional values. This recurrent theme is common to various contemporary authors such as Chuck Palahniuk, Michel Houellebecq and Bret Easton Ellis.

  • Analysis of today's feeling of solitude

In all his books, Frédéric Beigbeder tries to understand what love is. His characters all want to be loved yet they present a certain disillusionment that dooms their relationships from the start. According to Frédéric Beigbeder, solitude is the only feeling we all share in our modern times.

Chronology of works[edit]

Novels and short stories[edit]

He published his first Novel entitled Mémoires d'un jeune home derangé which was published by La Table Ronde in 1990 when he was 25.[4]

He published his second novel, Holiday in a Coma, in 1994, followed by Love Lasts Three Years, the last book of the trilogy of Marc Marronier, one of his main characters. Then, he wrote a collection of short stories entitled Nouvelles sous Ecstasy published by Gallimard.

In 2000, Frédéric Beigbeder was dismissed from the advertising agency Young & Rubicam after publishing his satirical novel $9.99 in which he criticized the advertising world.

He won the Prix Interallié in 2003 for his novel Windows on the World which takes place at the World Trade Center during 9/11. The English translation by Frank Wynne was awarded by the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2005.

In 2005, he published L'Egoïste Romantique (The Romantic Egoist).

In 2007, he published Au secours pardon, the sequel of £9.99.

In 2008, he was arrested for snorting cocaine off the hood of a car in Paris in the 8th Arrondissement. He was also in possession of 2.6 grams of cocaine. The arrest inspired his book A French Novel.[5]

Comic books[edit]

He also wrote comic books for a series called Rester Normal, illustrated by Philippe Bertrand and published by Dargaud. The comic book was a caricature of the international jet-set. Two books were published : Rester Normal (2002) and Rester Normal à Saint-Tropez (2004).

Essays[edit]

Frédéric Beigbeder published several essays.

In 2001, in Dernier inventaire avant liquidation, he criticized the first 50 works of Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century, a list of the one hundred best French books of the 20th century.

In this essay, using his original writing style, Beigbeder commented on a mix of great novels ; poetry, plays, as well as comic strips.

In 2005, he published Je crois, moi non-plus, composed of a discussion about the Catholic religion between himself and Monseigneur Jean-Michel Di Falco, the Bishop of Gap.

In 2007, the publishing house Leo Scheer released a collection of books entitled Ecrivains Aujoud'hui (Today's Writers), the first of which was dedicated to Frédéric Beigbdeder. The book was centered around a discussion between Beigbdeder and Angie David about his career and his literary work. In 2011, he commented on the 100 favourite books of the 20th-century in Premier bilan après Apocalypse¸ the sequel of Dernier inventaire avant liquidation.

Awards[edit]

Frédéric Beigbeder was awarded the Prix Interallié in 2003 for his novel Windows on the World. He won the Prix Renaudot in 2009 for his book Un roman français.

Publisher[edit]

From 2003 to 2006, he worked as a publisher in the French publishing house Flammarion. Within three years, he published 25 books for Flammarion.

Frédéric Beigbeder founded the Prix de Flore, which rewards young authors, he also serves as chairman of the jury. He also created the Sade Award in 2001 with Lionel Aracil. He was member of the jury of Prix Décembre from 2003 to 2010. Since March 2011, he has been member of the jury for the Prix Renaudot. In addition, he was jury member for the Prix Saint-Germain from 2011 to 2013 and for the Prix Fitzgerald.

Media[edit]

Advertising[edit]

In 1990, he started his career in advertising as a copywriter and worked in various agencies for ten years, including over 5 years at the agency Young & Rubicam. Alongside his advertising career, he worked as a writer and as a literary columnist for a variety of French magazines such as Elle, Paris Match and Voici.

Cinema[edit]

He is the co-author with Jean-Marie Périer of L'Attrape-Salinger, a documentary about J. D. Salinger. He plays himself in Les ruses de Frédéric (2007), an average film by Louis Skorecki and also appears in Les infortunes de la beauté by John Lvoff (which he co-wrote), Comme t'y es belle ! by Lisa Azuelos, Tu vas rire, mais je te quitte by Philippe Harel and La personne aux deux personnes by Nicolas and Bruno. He also appeared in the pornographic film La fille du batelier, by Patrice Cabanel.

He makes several appearances i((n 99 Francs]], the film adaptation of his novel directed by Jan Kounen. He also aided in filming as well as writing the screenplay. As a director, he made Love Last Three Years starring Gaspard Proust, Frédérique Bel, Jonathan Lambert and Louise Bourgoin.

Press[edit]

In 1996, he co-created a literary magazine called NRV. In 2003, he co-founded Bordel, another literary magazine. Frédéric Beigbeder worked as a columnist for various magazines including the French edition of GQ.

Since 2013, he has been the executive editor of the French magazine Lui. In 2012, he replaced François Nourissier for Feuilleton Magazine, a weekly supplement of Le Figaro Magazine.

Television[edit]

From September 2005 to May 2007, he worked for the French TV show Le Grand Journal hosted by Michel Denisot.

In addition, he hosts Le Cercle, a TV programme of literary and film reviews broadcast on Canal+ Cinéma.[6]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • 1997: "Vacances dans le Coma" (translated into English as Holiday in a Coma by Frank Wynne)
  • 1997: "L'amour dure trois ans" (translated into English as Love Lasts Three Years by Frank Wynne)
  • 2000: 99 Francs (Retitled 14,99 euro after the introduction of the euro), Grasset (translated into English as £9.99 by Adriana Hunter)
  • 2003: Windows on the World, Grasset (translated under the same title by Frank Wynne)
  • 2005: L'égoïste romantique (The Romantic Egoist), Grasset
  • 2007: Au secours pardon, Grasset
  • 2009: Un roman français, Grasset (translated into English as A French Novel by Frank Wynne)

Essay[edit]

  • 2001: Dernier inventaire avant liquidation, Grasset
  • 2011: Premier bilan après l'apocalypse, Grasset

Discussions[edit]

  • 2004: Je crois Moi non-plus : Dialogue entre un évêque et un mécréant Calmann Levis

Comic books[edit]

  • 2002: Rester Normal Dargaud
  • 2004: Rester Normal à Saint-Tropez Dargaud

Films[edit]

  • 2007: 99 Francs by director Jan Kounen
  • 2012: L'amour dure trois ans by director Frederic Beigbeder

Private life[edit]

Beigbeder has admitted that many of his novels are broadly autobiographical, and that the character of Octave in both 99 francs and Au secours, pardon is in many ways his avatar. On the other hand he contends that "I am more normal in real life than in my books" and that he is not like the characters in his books because he is too normal.

He is divorced and has a daughter, Chloé.

Editor's note[edit]

The sections writing style, influences, literary genres and themes are based on the two following books :

The aim was to comply with an author page template.

References[edit]

External links[edit]