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French literary figure Michel Tournier dies aged 91

Michel Tournier at his home of Choisel,  04 Avril 2005
Michel Tournier at his home of Choisel, 04 Avril 2005 AFP/Catherine Gugelmann

The French author Michel Tournier described as one of France’s most influential writers of the 20th century died today, aged 91, at his home in the village of Choisel near Paris surrounded by family.


Tournier’s health had deteriorated badly in recent months his godson Laurent Feliculis said..

Tournier was born to a German family in Paris in 1924.

He was 42 when his first novel "Friday or The Other Island" (Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique) , which retold the story of Robinson Crusoe, was published in 1967.

He won the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie Française the same year.

In 1970, he won the prestigious Prix Goncourt for the "The Erl-King" (Le Roi des Aulnes), a man who recruits children into the Nazi regime to save them.

His third novel "Gemini" (Les Météores), the story of twins, was published in 1975 and was a best seller in France for months.

He also wrote children’s books and in 2004 he contributed along with Arthur Miller, Gunter Grass and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to a collection of short stories named “Telling Tales”.

President Hollande paid homage to Tournier describing him as a “great writer of immense talent.”

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