Briefly: Bernard Clavel

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The Independent Online

Bernard Clavel, who died in Grenoble on 5 October aged 87, was an award-winning popular French novelist , an autodidact who began his working life as a baker. He published his first novel, Night Worker, in 1956, and went on to write more 40 more, including The Fruits of Winter, which in 1968 won France's coveted Goncourt prize. Several of his works, which focused on humble characters and used simple language, were adapted for the cinema and television.

Clavel, was born on 29 May 1923 in Lons-le-Saunier in eastern France. He began working as an apprentice pastry cook at 14 and had several other jobs before he began working as a journalist in the 1950s.

After the war, during which he served in the French Resistance,Clavel worked as a civil servant. Although his first novel L'Ouvrier de la nuit (Night Worker, 1956) was the first of many, he did not begin writing full-time until 1964.

He also wrote works for young people as well as several novels organised into series, such as La grande patience (The Great Patience, in four volumes, 1962–68), Les Colonnes du ciel (Heaven's Pillars, five volumes, 1976–81), and Le Royaume du nord (Northern Kingdom, six volumes, 1983–89).

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