Jeanne Benameur

Jeanne Benameur, the fourth child of an Italian mother and a Tunisian father, was born in Algeria in 1952 and grew up in the French coastal town of La Rochelle. Benameur began writing at the age of seven. After studies in Poitiers and a few years of teaching, her debut novel for adolescents “Samira des Quatre-Routes” was published in 1992. She was awarded the Grand Prix des Jeunes Lecteurs for the book in 1993. Since then she has published numerous books for young adults, of which two have also been translated into German.

“Quitte ta mére” (1998) is a touching tale about the adventure of growing up. Jeanne Benameur writes about thirteen year-old Bastien’s decision to leave his single mother when, during his holidays, he notices that his aging grandfather needs him more urgently. With the inner eye, she examines his current situation, which also changes because of Anne, whom he meets during his vacation. In a simple yet non-sentimental way, she documents the maturing pr ocess of her young pr otagonist and makes his thoughts, feelings, insecurities and fears transparent.

In the award-winning “Si même les arbres meurent” from 2000, the author dares to tackle a topic that is difficult not only for young people: the loss of a loved one. “With crystal clear, memorable sentences and deeply intense images Jeanne Benameur portrays the harmonious psycho-transference of the two siblings, who have become half-orphaned” (“Bulletin für Jugend & Literatur”). She sketches Mathieu and Celine’s slow and painful parting from their father, who lays in a coma after an accident in the mountains. Cautiously the author concedes insight into the secret dream world to which the two children flee and where their father is the unconquerable Native-American chief Big Eagle. The author inter pr ets the existential experience of illness and death as full of magic. Her text breathes with metaphors and creates space to make one’s own associations. “Si même les arbres meurent” was awarded the Prix Jeunes Lecteurs de Brives 2001, amongst others.

In recent years, Jeanne Benameur has also dedicated herself to adult literature. Her novel “Les Demeurées” was published in 2000 and was awarded the Prix UNICEF (2001). However, the author does not plan on making a choice between adult and young people’s literature. Jeanne Benameur, who also writes poems and plays, does not distinguish between genres. Her objective is to write “real” texts for readers of different ages. Her most recently published book, “Le Ramadan de la parole”, tells in three lively stories the headstrong opposition of young women to the moral codes that ensure their sup pr ession. Jeanne Benameur has settled in Paris as a freelance writer.

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