Youth and first publications
Marc-Édouard Nabe (born Alain Zannini, Marseille, France), is the only son of the greek-turkish-italian jazz musician Marcel Zanini and Suzanne Zannini. He grew up in Marseille, before going in 1969 in Boulogne-Billancourt. Through his father, who became successful with Tu veux ou tu veux pas in 1970, he met jazz musicians and painters.December 27, 1958 in
Nabe’s nickname comes from his size, « nabot » is a pejorative word for a person who is short. Marc and Edouard are his second and third first-name, after ‘’Alain’’.
At 16, Nabe published a sketch on the front page of the left-oriented newspaper Liberation and many more in the anarchical magazine Hara Kiri.
In 1976, he plays rhythm guitar on a record with his father, Sam Woodyard and Milt Buckner. The name of the track, Nabe’s Dream, was the title of what Nabe thought for his first book. Finally, he chose Au regal des Vermines and Nabe’s Dream was used for the first volume of his diary, published in 1991.
In 1980, after his one-year national service, he met Hélène Hottiaux with whom he got a child, Alexandre, in 1990.
Au Régal des Vermines
His first book Au Régal des Vermines is published in January 1985 (Bernard Barrault éditeur). Nabe started the writing of the book during his national service, finished it in June 1983 (which is also the beginning of the first volume of his diary).
The book is less known than the performance of Marc-Édouard Nabe on Apostrophes, hourlong show devoted to books, authors and literature, in February 1985. The show, hosted by Bernard Pivot, had for theme « The bad feelings » and was known for the aggression, after the program, of Nabe by a journalist, Georges-Marc Benamou. Because of his literary references (Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Leon Bloy or Lucien Rebatet) and his words during the program, Nabe is accused of being an antisemist and a racist.
In this first book, Nabe talks about, among other things, jazz, writers, art, homosexuality, his parents, his wife Hélène, racism, etc. The book was sold out after the program and made a reputation for Nabe as a pariah. Nabe was sued by the Licra (Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme), an anti-racist association. In 1989, the charges were dropped.
His second book, Zigzags (1986) is a compilation of various texts (essays, short stories, poetry, etc.) In 1986 is published a book about the jazz-singer Billie Holiday, L’âme de Billie Holiday (Billie Holiday’s soul), in which Nabe’s declare his love and admiration for the jazz and Holiday.
His first novel, Le Bonheur (Happiness) is published by Denoël and tells the story of Andrea de Bocumar (anagram of Marc-Edouard Nabe), a painter assistant specialized in feet on levitation. The book is more about the youth of Nabe in Marseille, his family, than painting.
From the moment he finished the manuscript of his first book until the born of his son, Alexandre, Nabe had written his diary, published in four volumes :
- Nabe's Dream, 1983 - 1985 (1991)
- Tohu Bohu, 1985 - 1986 (1993)
- Inch Allah - 1986 - 1988 (1996)
- Kamikaze, 1988 - 1990 (2000)
In his diary, Nabe writes about his every day life, his relationship with his family and his wife (even the sexual moments), his passion for art, his meetings, his difficulties to be published (especially in Nabe's Dream, etc. The last volume, Kamikaze, because of his content, the honesty of Nabe who writes what he really things of what people do, causes a vast mouvement of hate against him. Consequently, he left Paris for the greek island, Patmos, alone, with his diary. During this exile, he wrote a large novel about the identity, Alain Zannini and decided to burn the decade 1990 of his diary.
Less than two months after the September 11 attacks, Nabe writes Une lueur d'espoir (a glow of hope). Nabe explains that the terrorist attacks were more a punishment, after decades of humiliation of the Arab world by the United States. In 2003, he writes a novel, Printemps de feu (Spring of fire) about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Nabe was in Iraq during the war and tells his story in the book. The tone is also very critical towards the Americans.
In 2005, his long term publisher, Editions du Rocher, was sold to a pharmaceutical business. Nabe used to be paid monthly by the former president, Jean-Paul Bertrand, according to a non-written contract. After the sale, Nabe lost his publisher and got money only from reprint of books initially published by other publishers. Until 2010, he hoaxed his readers into thinking that he ceased to write after twenty-seven books, discouraged by his difficulties to share his texts.
In January 2010, Marc-Edouard Nabe creates a web plateform, which he used to sell the book he recovers the rights (about twenty) and a new book, he self-edits, L'homme qui arrêta d'écrire (The man who ceased to write). This new book became a vast success, despite the fact that the sold only eight thousands copies. First, on each unit, Nabe gets 70% of the price, instead of the 10% in the former system of publishers. Second, Nabe had created a new way to distribute the book : he is not available in libraries, but only on the web platform or symbolic places (butchery, cloths shops, restaurants, etc.). His rational is : because of the hate of the entire system against him, Nabe wants to sell directly to the readers, without middlemen. In the end of 2010, Nabe's book was on the list of the Renaudot Price, but did not get it.
In October 2011, Nabe self-publishes a novel about the DSK Affair, L'Enculé (Fucked). The story starts with what happened in the hotel room between Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Nafissatou Diallo. After, he tells the story from the DSK point of view (the prison, the trial, the life in New York, the acquittal).
Fight against conspiracy theories
Nabe took position about the conspiracy theories in his book L'Homme qui arrêta d'écrire through the character of Le Libre Penseur (The Free Thinker) which is, in the real life, a French blogger. In January 2014, on national television, during a debate of the freedom of speech of the French humorist Dieudonne, Nabe intervenes to explains that behind the antisemitism of Dieudonne (and Alain Soral, a French writer and friend of Dieudonne, who wrote about feminism, gay movements, zionism, freemasonry, etc.), there are conspiracy theories. Nabe announced he wrote a thousand pages about the subject. Nabe was the target of violent attacks, lead by Alain Soral, since 2009.
- Au régal des vermines, 1985
- Zigzags, 1986
- Chacun mes goûts, 1986
- L'Âme de Billie Holiday, 1986
- La Marseillaise, 1989
- Rideau, 1992
- Visage de Turc en pleurs, 1992
- Petits riens sur presque tout, 1992
- L'Âge du Christ, 1992
- Nuage, 1993
- Oui, 1998
- Non, 1998
- Coups d'Épée dans l'eau, 1999
- Une lueur d'espoir, 2001
- J'enfonce le clou, 2004
- Le Vingt-Septième Livre, 2009
- I, Nabe's Dream, 1992
- II, Tohu-Bohu, 1993
- III, Inch'Allah, 1996
- IV, Kamikaze, 2000
- Le Bonheur, 1988
- Lucette, 1995
- Je suis mort, 1998
- Alain Zannini, 2002
- Printemps de feu, 2003
- L'homme qui arrêta d'écrire, 2010
- L'Enculé, 2011
- Loin des fleurs, 1998
- K.-O. et autres contes, 1999
- L'affaire Zannini, 2003
- Morceaux choisis, 2006
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