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Pierre Lemaitre

Born in Paris in 1951, Pierre Lemaitre has established himself as a standout writer of the French contemporary roman noir genre. His literary career is rather unusual: founder of a training agency, he used to teach American and French literature to librarians before dedicating himself, in his fifties, into the process of writing thrillers.

Since the publication of his first book Travail soigné in France in 2006, Lemaitre has been publishing novels at an astounding rate. By the time he was awarded the Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award, in 2013, for his novel Au revoir là-haut, he had seven books and numerous other awards under his belt.


A departure from his previous works, Au revoir là-haut is a picaresque novel featuring two former French soldiers of WWI, left behind in 1918, who manage to pull off a scam with fictitious war memorials.

Even before Lemaitre enjoyed a large success with Au revoir là-haut, he had won over many fans of the roman noir genre with his crime drama series about the detective Camille Verhœven, among other crime stories. For his crime novels alone he has been awarded eight literary prizes to date, including the Francophone Polar Prize (Robe de marié, 2009), and the European Polar Prize (Cadres noirs, 2010). His highly ingenious plots, combined with his stunning visual style--he prefers to use the word “scene” to the word “chapter” when discussing his books--have earned him the praise of critics and the public alike. To add to this relentless success, an American film adaptation of Pierre Lemaitre’s internationally bestselling thriller Alex, directed and produced by James B. Harris, and co-written by Lemaitre himself, was shot in Paris this autumn.A graphic novel adaptation of Au revoir là-haut, with illustrations by Christian De Metter, will be released in France in October by Rue de Sèvres.

His books are published by MacLehose Press in the US. The Great Swindle will be released in the US in time for the 2015 Brooklyn Book festival.


TEASER: Check out the first two chapters, translated into English!

"Pierre Lemaitre [is a] a really excellent suspense novelist," according to Stephen King in the New York Times.

“[The Great Swindle is an] assured, somber exploration of post-WWI French society… Lemaitre captures the venal capitalism of the postwar period… Despite his unscrupulous scheme, Édouard proves impossible to dislike. His determination to play a great trick on the society that betrayed him is infectious, and readers cannot help rooting for his plans as they reach their dark, bizarrely joyous fruition.” - Publishers Weekly

Read Publishers Weekly's review here!


If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Marine Baudoin at marine.baudoin@diplomatie.gouv.fr