Interviewed by Paris Match on August 13, Amélie Nothomb explained that she was anorexic during her adolescence and was able to get out of it thanks to classic literature.

This Thursday August 13, 2020, Amelia Nothomb gave a cross interview to Gala, with Daniel Picouly. The two writers shared how writing and reading could help them find a purpose for living. “It came close to my turning out very badly. Literature saved me. It’s miraculous for me to get out of it and it’s only thanks to the books. Today, we have want to say to others: ‘You too can get by with novels’ “, declares the author of Stupeur et Tremblements, Hygiène de l’Assassin or even Barbe Bleue.

The 54-year-old novelist explains that she was “a teenager with very big problems”, which was able to find its second breath thanks to “classical literature”. “My father, great reader[namely[àsavoirPatrick Nothomb former diplomat died in March 2020, Editor’s note]had all the classics. I started to tap into it very early on “, continues Amélie Nothomb, before revealing how her adolescence was “disturbed”, in particular because she plunged into a “severe anorexia which almost killed her”. “I had a feeling of nothingness. It was reading the classics that allowed me to reconnect with reality”, continues Fabienne Claire Nothomb of her real name, who hopes that other young people will also succeed in clinging to life through reading. “I meet a lot of teenagers who ask me for advice on reading (…) Some, at school, do not receive any reading instructions. And sometimes they are even advised not to read an entire book so as not to Discourage them! What’s the point? The more difficult the book, the more they like, “said the writer, who does not understand the refusal of certain teachers of letters to teach classical literature to their students.

Books destined to pass from generation to generation?

“It seems to me to be clearly a mistake and even contemptuous. It means: ‘We were smarter, we could read these books.’ What is fascinating is precisely to have the same books read by successive generations. . The greatness of the classic is what it has to say to each generation. We all need to be pulled up “, assures Amélie Nothomb to our colleagues.

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© Pierre Perusseau

2/15 – Amélie Nothomb at the 12th edition of the Prix de la Closerie des Lilas in Paris, France, on April 16, 2019. The Prix de la Closerie des Lilas crowns a French-language novelist whose work appears in September January. The Closerie des Lilas Prize has the originality of being composed of a permanent jury and a guest jury, renewed each year. The 2018 jury awarded the Closerie des Lilas 2018 Prize to S. Chiche for “Les Enténébrés” (Seuil edition), the winner will be the privileged guest of La Closerie des Lilas for one year, for an amount of 3,000 euros. © Pierre Perusseau / Bestimage

© JEAN-CLAUDE WOESTELANDT

3/15 – Amélie Nothomb – Book Fair 2019 at Porte de Versailles in Paris from March 15 to 18, 2019 © Jean-Claude Woestelandt / Bestimage

© CEDRIC PERRIN

4/15 – Amelie Nothomb – Paris Book Fair March 16, 2019 © Cédric Perrin / Bestimage

© Alexandre Fay

5/15 – Info from 03/18/2020 (Amélie Nothomb’s father, Belgian diplomat Patrick Nothomb, dies of coronavirus at the age of 83) – Amélie Nothomb – Award ceremony December 2018 to Michaël Ferrier at the Le Lutétia hotel in Paris. November 8, 2018 © Alexandre Fay / PixPlanete / Bestimage

© COADIC GUIREC

6/15 – Info from 03/18/2020 (Amélie Nothomb’s father, Belgian diplomat Patrick Nothomb, dies of coronavirus at the age of 83) – Amélie Nothomb – Award ceremony December 2015 to Christine Angot for her novel “Un amour impossible” (Flammarion) at the Maison de d’Amérique Latine in Paris, November 2, 2015. © Guirec Coadic / Bestimage

© OLIVIER BORDE

7/15 – Amélie Nothomb – Closerie des Lilas Prize 2016 in Paris, April 12, 2016 © Olivier Borde / Bestimage

© CEDRIC PERRIN

8/15 – Amélie Nothomb – The “33rd Book Fair” at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris. © Cédric Perrin / Bestimage

© Frédéric Maligne

9/15 – Amélie Nothomb – Brive Book Fair 2017, November 11, 2017 © Frédéric Maligne / Bestimage

© Romuald Meigneux

10/15 – Amélie Nothomb (president of the jury) – 11th edition of the Prix de la Closerie des Lilas in Paris, France, April 10, 2018. The Prix de la Closerie des Lilas crowns a French-language novelist whose work is published at the start of the January school year. The Closerie des Lilas Prize has the originality of being composed of a permanent jury and a guest jury, renewed each year. The 2018 jury awarded the Closerie des Lilas 2018 Prize to Od ?? Oultremont for “Les déraisons” (editions of the Observatory), the winner will be the privileged guest of La Closerie des Lilas for one year, for an amount of 3,000 euros. The Montblanc house, deeply rooted since its origin in the culture of writing, has been a partner of the Closerie de Lilas Prize since its creation in 2007. It will award to the winner of the Prize as well as to the wife of the? ? year an exceptional writing instrument, the fountain pen from the Muses Marilyn Monroe collection, the ultimate symbol of glamor and femininity. Elegant, intense and daring, the style of the Duval-Leroy house perfectly reflects the values ​​of the Closerie des Lilas Prize. Undoubtedly the most feminine of champagne, the Duval-Leroy house is very proud to present to the winner a magnum of “Woman of Champagne”, the prestigious vintage of the family and independent house. © Romuald Meigneux / Bestimage

© VEEREN

11/15 – Amélie Nothomb – Prix de la Closerie des Lilas 2015 in Paris, April 8, 2015.

© Mick Owen

12/15 – Amélie Nothomb – “Japan Rive Gauche” exhibition at Bon Marché in Paris on September 2, 2014.

© COADIC GUIREC

13/15 – Amélie Nothomb – – 34th edition of the Salon du Livre in Paris Porte de Versailles on March 22, 2014.

© CEDRIC PERRIN

14/15 – Portrait of Amélie Nothomb

© AGENCY

15/15 – AMELIE NOTHOMB – RECORDING OF THE “VIVEMENT DIMANCHE” SHOW IN PARIS ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2012.