BIOGRAPHY DANIEL PENNAC – French writer Daniel Pennac is the author of children’s books and successful series such as the Malaussène Saga. His story “Chagrin d’école” won the Renaudot Prize in 2007.
Short biography of Daniel Pennac – Daniel Pennacchioni was born on December 1, 1944 in Casablanca, Morocco. He spent his childhood in Africa and Asia, depending on the assignments of his father, a professional soldier. His education is irregular and learning difficult, which does not worry his parents too much. Moreover a few years later, Daniel Pennac obtained a master’s degree in literature at the University of Nice before becoming a professor of French in 1969. At the same time as his teaching profession, Daniel Pennac wrote books intended for young people. His series, Kamo published in 1993 is a real success. He then embarked on the adventure of adult books. The publication of his novel To the happiness of the ogres in 1985 marks the beginning of the Malaussene saga. The book, which was brought to the big screen in 2013, tells the story of an unconventional family and incorporates elements of police investigation. The lively and slang style of the author, as well as the originality of the environment he has created, appeal to the public and have earned Daniel Pennac an ever-growing reputation. Besides his novels, the writer writes comics, children’s albums and plays. His favorite themes are childhood, social non-conformity, education and inequalities. His essay School grief got the Renaudot prize in 2007.
It was after his military service in 1973 that Daniel Pennac published his first book. Entitled Military service in whose service, the work constitutes a critique of national service. The author then decides to change his name, Daniel Pennacchioni to Daniel Pennac, in order not to harm his father, a soldier by profession. Six years later, he traveled to Brazil with his first wife, Irène Pennacchioni-Léothaud, who inspired him The Dictator and the Hammock, an autobiographical novel which will appear in 2003. On his return from his trip, Pennac decides to experiment with writing children’s books. This change of register gave birth to several works, in particular Cabot-Caboche, 1982 or again Eye of the wolf, 1984. However it is his novel To the Happiness of the Ogres, published in 1985 which really made it known to the general public. The latter, which relates the adventures of the Malaussene tribe, is the first volume in a series of six detective novels called Malaussene Saga. Childhood and education subsequently became Pennac’s favorite themes, as his works testify: Like a novel (1992), or again School grief in 2007. However, Daniel Pennac also tries his hand at other types of more singular novels, such as Journal of a body (2012), The dreamer’s law (2020), in which reflection and self-knowledge hold an important place.
Published in 1985, To the happiness of the ogres is the first novel in the Malaussène saga written by Daniel Pennac. The title and the place of the plot of the work refer To the happiness of the ladies Émile Zola, a great French writer who in his time had endeavored to describe the emerging phenomenon of supermarkets. Like the five works that follow it, (The Rifle Fairy, 1987, The Little Prose Merchant, 1990, Mr. Malaussène, 1995, Christians and Moors, 1996, and finally Apassion fruit, 1999), To the happiness of the ogres relate the adventures of the Malaussène family and more mainly from Benjamin Malaussène, professional scapegoat. In this first volume, the hero becomes the main suspect in a series of bombings perpetrated in the Store, a supermarket where he works as a technical controller. Originally published in the “Série noire” by Gallimard, reserved for thrillers, To the happiness of the ogres can be considered as a Detective story. However, the work of the themes evoked in particular that of the scapegoat or even the criticism of certain human behaviors shows that it goes beyond the schema of a simple detective story. This is also the reason why it was later reissued in another more generalist collection (“Blanche”). Real success from its release, To the happiness of the ogres is now translated into more than ten languages. In 2013, it was also the subject of a film adaptation by director Nicolas Bary.
In 2007, Daniel Pennac delivered a autobiographical story inspired by his past as a dunce and his complicated education. The novel titled School grief in fact returns to the learning difficulties faced by Pennac during his childhood and testifies to the coexistence of two worlds that everything sometimes seems to oppose, that of the students and that of the teachers. A perfect illustration that school results do not necessarily influence the future of students, Pennac demonstrates how bad student, he came to be a teacher and then unexpectedly a writer. At the turn of the experiences told by the author, School grief also allows a reflection on the pedagogy as well as the dysfunctions of the educational institution. Become one of Daniel Pennac’s most famous novels, School grief wins the Renaudot prize the year of its release in 2007.