Andreï Makine

Andreï Makine in 2013

Andreï Sergeyevich Makine (Russian: Андрей Серге́евич Макин; born 10 September 1957) is a Russian-born French novelist. He also publishes under the pseudonym Gabriel Osmonde.[1] Makine's novels include Dreams of My Russian Summers (1995) which won two top French awards, the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Médicis. He was elected to seat 5 of the Académie française on 3 March 2016, succeeding Assia Djebar.[2]


Andreï Makine was born in Krasnoyarsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union on 10 September 1957 and grew up in the city of Penza about 700 kilometres (435 mi) south-east of Moscow.[3] As a boy, having acquired familiarity with France and its language from his French-born grandmother (it is not certain whether Makine had a French grandmother; in later interviews he claimed to have learned French from a friend), he wrote poems in both French and his native Russian.

In 1987, he went to France as a member of a teacher's exchange program and decided to stay.[4] He was granted political asylum and was determined to make a living as a writer in French. However, Makine had to present his first manuscripts as translations from Russian to overcome publishers' skepticism that a newly arrived exile could write so fluently in a second language.[5] After disappointing reactions to his first two novels, it took eight months to find a publisher for his fourth, Dreams of My Russian Summers. Finally published in 1995 in France, the novel became the first in history to win both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Médicis plus the Goncourt des Lycéens.

In 2001 Makine began secretively publishing as "Gabriel Osmonde", a total of four novels over ten years, the last appearing in 2011.[1] It was a French literary mystery and many speculated about who Osmonde might be.[1] Finally in 2011 a scholar noticed Osmonde's book 20,000 femmes dans la vie d’un homme had been inspired by Makine's Dreams of My Russian Summers and Makine confirmed that he was the author.[1] Explaining why he used a pseudonym he said, "I wanted to create someone who lived far from the hurly-burly of the world".[1]


All of Makine's novels have been translated into English by Geoffrey Strachan.

Le testament français was published in English as Dreams of My Russian Summers in the United States, and under its original French title in the United Kingdom. It has also been translated into Russian by Yuliana Yahnina and Natalya Shakhovskaya, and first published in the 12th issue of the Foreign Literature (Иностранная литература) literary magazine in 1996.


As Gabriel Osmonde


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Who is Gabriel Osmonde? A French Literary Mystery is Solved", New York Times, April 1, 2011
  2. "L'écrivain d'origine russe Andreï Makine entre à l'Académie française" (in French). Le Monde. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  3. Murielle Lucie Clément. Andreï Makine. Rodopi, 2009. pg. 141
  4. Christopher W. Lemelin, "Andrei Makine" in Multicultural Authors Since 1945(Amoia, Alba, and Bettina L Knapp, eds.). Oxford and Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004.
  5. "Torn Between Two Languages", Victor Brombert, New York Times, August 17, 1997

External links

French language links

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