Anna Gavalda : biography
Anna Gavalda (born December 9, 1970 in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine) is a French teacher and award-winning novelist.
Referred to by Voici magazine as “a distant descendant of Dorothy Parker”, Anna Gavalda was born in an upper-class suburb of Paris. While working as French teacher in high school, a collection of her short stories was first published in 1999 under the title Je voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part that met with both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling more than three-quarters of a million copies in her native France and winning the 2000 “Grand Prix RTL-Lire”. The book was translated into numerous languages including in English and sold in twenty-seven countries. It was published to acclaim in North America in 2003 as I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere. The book received much praise and is a library and school selection worldwide in several languages.
Gavalda’s first novel, Je l’aimais (Someone I Loved) was published in France in February 2002 and later that year in English. Inspired by the failure of her own marriage, it too was a major literary success and a bestseller and was followed by the short (96 pages) young adult novel 35 kilos d’espoir (95 Pounds of Hope) that she said she wrote “to pay tribute to those of my students who were dunces in school but otherwise fantastic people”.
In 2004, her third novel, Hunting and Gathering (Ensemble, c’est tout), focused on the lives of four people living in an apartment house: a struggling young artist who works as an office cleaner at night, a young aristocrat misfit, a cook, and an elderly grandmother. The 600-page book is a bestseller in France and has been translated into English as Hunting and Gathering.
As of 2007, her three books have sold more than 3 million copies in France. Hunting and Gathering was made into a film in 2007 by Claude Berri, with Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet. The adaptation of her first novel, Je l’aimais, with Daniel Auteuil and Marie-Josée Croze, was filmed in 2009 by Zabou Breitman.
Divorced, and the mother of two, Gavalda lives in the city of Melun, Seine-et-Marne, about 50 km southeast of Paris. In addition to writing novels, she also contributes to Elle magazine.
- Hunting and Gathering, 2007
- Someone I Loved, 2009
- Je voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part, 1999
- 35 kilos d’espoir, 2002
- Je l’aimais, 2002
- Ensemble, c’est tout, 2005
- La consolante, 2008
- L’Échappée belle, 2009
Works in English translation
- I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
- 95 Pounds of Hope
- Someone I Loved
- Hunting and Gathering, 2006
- Consolation, 2009
- Breaking Away/French Leave, 2011