The only author to have twice won the Prix Goncourt (the deception will not be known until after his death), France’s highest literary distinction, under the names Romain Gary (with the novel “The Roots of Heaven” in 1956) and Emile Ajar (with the novel “Life Before Self” in 1975), Roman Kacew of his real name was born on May 21, 1914 in Vilna in the Russian Empire (present-day Vilnius in Lithuania) and died by suicide on December 2, 1980 in Paris.

Aviator, military, resistance fighter, diplomat, novelist, screenwriter, director, of Polish, Russian, French and English languages, Romain Gary is a genius of words whose courage, commitment and life will remain very much present, for a long time to come. His love of women (from his mother first to his last wife, the actress Jean Seberg, who also died suicide in 1979), his humour in the drama and his refusal to grow old will have been the guiding threads of his work and his life. It’s always good to go and reread Gary.

“Living is a prayer that only a woman’s love can fulfill.”

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