French Writer Laurent Binet in Franschhoek Literary Festival (sat 18 - sun 19 may) [fr]
Awarded French writer Laurent Binet is invited in South Africa, to the Franschhoek Literary Festival, to take part in a series of talks around literature and history, and HHhH, his first novel (2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman).
French writer Laurent Binet (1972) was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman for his debut novel, HHhH. which recounts the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in 1942.
In August 2012, Binet published “Rien ne se passe comme prévu” ("Nothing goes as planned"), a behind-the-scenes account of the successful presidential campaign of François Hollande, which Binet witnessed while embedded with Hollande’s campaign staff.Laurent Binet is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature.
Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Nazi secret services, ’the hangman of Prague’, ’the blond beast’, ’the most dangerous man in the Third Reich’.
His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says ’Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich’, which in German spells HHhH.
All the characters in HHhH are real. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are a novelist writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?
HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifyingly modern, a moving and shattering work of fiction.
‘ HHhH blew me away. Binet’s style fuses it all together: a neutral, journalistic honesty sustained with a fiction writer’s zeal and story-telling instincts. It’s one of the best historical novels I’ve ever come across. ’ - Bret Easton Ellis
‘ A work of absolute originality ’- Claude Lanzmann
‘ Laurent Binet’s brilliantly gripping ’HHhH’ resets the path of the historical ’ - The Telegraph
HHhH is one of The New York Times’ Notable Books of 2012.
SAT. 18 - SUN. 19 MAY : FRANSCHOEK LITERARY FESTIVAL
Sat. 18 May – 10.00
World War II
Distinguished war historian Antony Beevor (The Second World War) engages with French academic and novelist Laurent Binet (HHhH), chaired by Professor Bill Nasson (South Africa at War 1939-1945).
Sun. 19 May – 11.30
Laurent Binet, whose novel HHhH about the assassination of Heydrich won the Prix Goncourt for a first novel in 2010, in conversation with Tymon Smith.
Sun. 19 May – 14.00
Prisms on the past
Lynda Gilfillan explores the possibilities of historical fiction with Laurent Binet, author of HHhH, and Claire Robertson, author of The Spiral House.