Michel Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq is, since the 1990s, one of the contemporary authors of French language the most translated and read in the world.

“Michel Thomas was born on the French island Réunion in 1958, his mother was a doctor and his father a mountain guide. His early years were marked by frequent moves (Savoy, Algeria, back to Réunion). His life gained a certain stability after his parents’ divorce, when, at the age of six, he went to live with his paternal grandmother (whose maiden name, Houellebecq, he adopted as his penname).

His childhood was spent in Dicy, in the Yonne. Then his teenage years in Villiers-sur-Morin, in Seine-et-Marne.

After a high-school diploma, which he passed at the age of seventeen, he continued his education in Paris where, five years later, he qualified as an agronomist (specialising in vegetal ecology).

There then followed periods of unemployment intercut with periods of work (firstly to do with agronomics; then mostly for IT service providers).

1991 saw him publish his first book, as well become an administrative secretary at the Assemblée Nationale.

There, he had a brief career in the IT department. In 1996 he took unpaid leave for personal reasons, before resigning in 2008.” Michel Houellebecq