Joseph Kessel

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Joseph Kessel.

Joseph Kessel (10 February 1898 – 23 July 1979) was a French journalist and novelist.

Kessel was born in Villa Clara, Entre Ríos, Argentina, because of the constant journeys of his father, a Lithuanian doctor of Jewish origin. Joseph Kessel lived the first years of his childhood in Orenburg, Russia, before the family moved to France in 1908. He studied in Nice and Paris, and took part in the First World War as an aviator.

Kessel wrote several novels and books that were later represented in the cinema, notably Belle de Jour (by Luis Buñuel in 1967). He was also a member of the Académie française from 1962 to 1979. In 1943 he and his nephew Maurice Druon translated Anna Marly's song Chant des Partisans into French from its original Russian. The song became one of the anthems of the Free French Forces during the Second World War.

Joseph Kessel died in Avernes, Val-d'Oise. He is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.

The Joseph-Kessel Prize (Prix Joseph Kessel) is a prestigious prize in French language literature, given to "a book of a high literary value written in french". The jury counts or has counted among its members Tahar Ben Jelloun, Jean-Marie Drot, Michèle Kahn, Pierre Haski, Gilles Lapouge, Michel Le Bris, Erik Orsenna, Patrick Rambaud, Jean-Christophe Rufin, André Velter and Olivier Weber.

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