Maylis de Kerangal was born in 1967 in Toulon, France, and studied history, philosophy and ethnology in Rouen and Paris. She subsequently worked for the children’s and young adult literature division of the French publishing house Éditions Gallimard. After a sojourn in the US, she returned to Paris to study at the graduate school École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociale.
With the publication of her first novel in 2000, Kerangal turned to writing full time, as well as leading the children’s and young readers’ book imprint Éditions du Baron Perché. In 2010, her novel »Naissance d’un pont« (2010; Eng. »Birth of a Bridge«, 2014) garnered her numerous nominations, among them the prestigious Prix Médicis and Franz-Hessel Prize, which she shared with Kathrin Röggla. In 2014 »Naissance d’un pont« was also awarded the Gregor von Rezzori Prize. In the words of one jury, de Kerangal’s »many-layered, dramatic narrative style culminates in an evocative and impressive novel«. The construction of a monumental bridge at the beginning of the 21st century in the fictitious, Californian city of Coca, serves to illustrate how the present »encodes itself into the minds and bodies of human beings« (»Süddeutsche Zeitung«), and that even though a workforce made up of people from all over the world doesn’t come without certain problems, it can unleash powers of an unprecedented scale. In 2014, her novel »Réparer les vivants« (2013; Eng. »The Heart: A Novel«, 2016) also garnered numerous awards, including the Grand Prix RTL Lire, the Prix Orange du Livre and the Prix Relay. Over 24 hours, »Réparer les vivants«, a rapid-fire sequence of emotionally explosive scenes that read partly like a reportage, describes the transplantation of a nineteen-year-old man’s heart, beginning with the decision to donate the organ to when it is accepted by the recipient’s body. »Die Welt« wrote that although de Kerangal’s prose »wasn’t able to prevent death, it embraced life«, and described it as »cruelly and beautifully controlled trance writing, no holds barred«, as well as »magnificent literature«. The »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung« praised the author’s courage for addressing this subject in the form of a novel, and credited her with having »the literary skill and ability to create an exciting and moving novel«. »Réparer les vivants« was made into a film by Katell Quillévéré in 2016. Most recently de Kerangal published the novel »Un chemin de table« (2016; tr. A table runner), about the culinary explorations of a young chef.
Kerangal lives in Paris.