François Cavanna (22 February 1923 – 29 January 2014) was a French author and satirical newspaper editor. He contributed to the creation and success of Hara-Kiri and Charlie Hebdo. He wrote in a variety of genres including reportage, satire, essays, novels, autobiography and humor. He also translated six books about famous cartoonists.
Cavanna was born in Nogent-sur-Marne. Although raised in France, he grew up surrounded by Italian immigrants due to his father being from Italy. He treated this life in his books Les Ritals and L'œil du lapin. At the age of 16, he took up various part-time jobs. He delivered letters for the postal service, sold fruits and vegetables, and was a mason's apprentice. His journalistic début came in 1945 when he began to work for the daily Libération.
In November 1969, Hara-Kiri''s sister weekly magazine was banned . Cavanna came up with the idea of renaming the magazine for the next week's issue, and thus, Charlie Hebdo was born.
Later, he turned to autobiographical writing. Les Ritals, dealt with his childhood, while Les Russkoffs (and later Maria) treated his experience in World War II. Les Russkoffs was the novel for which he won the Prix Interallié in 1979. In Bête et méchant and Les yeux plus grands que le ventre he tells his hilarious experiences in Hara-Kiri and Charlie Hebdo. The final book of his published while he was still living, Lune de miel, deals with Cavanna's Parkinson disease.