23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Emmanuelle Pagano

Emmanuelle Pagano was born in Aveyron, Southern France in 1969. She studied film theory and multimedia in Montpellier and graduated with a degree in plastic arts. Alongside her academic work, which includes essays on the films of Guibert and Pasolini and research about the »cinema of scars«, she began to write literary texts. Her early story »Pour être chez moi« (t: To Be at My Side) was published in 2002 under the pseudonym Emma Schaak, and her début novel »Pas devant les gents” (2004; t: Not in Front of the People) is to be republished shortly. Pagano was awarded the Prix TSR for her subsequent work. »Le Tiroir à Cheveux« (2005; t: The Drawer of Hair) was translated into Spanish and is soon to appear in German. The novel tells the story of a close bond between a hairdresser, a single-mum, and her disabled son. Intimacy and distance are interlaced in Pagano’s prose, which is given life by the interaction between strong images of landscapes and the narrators’ streams of consciousness. Physicality is a constant focus of the narrative voice, which is at once matter of fact, poignant and laconic. The body’s vulnerability, deformability, changeability, fertility, ability to experience pleasure and pain, and its social role are touched on. The novel »Les Adolescents troglodytes« (2007; t: The Troglodytic Adolescents) portrays six days in the life of a school-bus driver who returns – after undergoing a sex change – to the place where she grew up as a boy. Premonitions and flashbacks are interspersed with impressive descriptions of nature, building up a frank yet sympathetic picture of her difficult life. The film adaptation was awarded the Prix Rhône-Alpes. »Les mains gamines« (2008; t: The Mischievous Hands) centres on the traumatic experience of sexual violence between schoolchildren. The victim has since become an adult woman, searching for a way to move beyond her experience, while four women who know her begin to guess her secret. The novel was awarded the Prix Wepler and the Prix Rhône-Alpes. »Emanuelle Pagano is a territorial author«, wrote the critic Maxime Scheinfeigel. Her landscapes »merit becoming literary objects, provided that a territory unites and sublimates them: the territory of the body«.

The author openly shares information about her life and work on her blog lescorpsempeches.net (theinhibitedbodies), such as her new book project »L’Absence d’oiseaux d’eau« (t: The Absence of Waterfowl). This epistolary and romance novel was planned as co-production with author Marc Pautrel and developed into an actual affair with the correspondent.

Pagano teaches plastic arts in the Ardèche, where she lives with her three children.

© international literature festival berlin