A remarkable book written by four young men has highlighted the reality of life on one of France's many impoverished and neglected housing estates. The work, which began as a writing project with their community worker, and which combines tragic insight with flashes of great humour, tackles issues of education, the police, drugs, prison and even the role of history among the writers and their friends. But, as Joseph Confavreux reports, perhaps the major achievement of 'Nous...La cité' ('We...the estate') is that it has taught four young men from a run-down area the power of the written word.
The 85-year-old French artist who co-created the world-famous Astérix comic book series is surrounded by advisers and employees who benefit enormously from his largesse. Crying foul play, Albert Uderzo’s only daughter succeeded in getting an examining magistrate to look into the affair. Mediapart's Michel Deléan reveals the inside story of the ongoing investigation.
A major work just published in France charts the rich and very diverse history of the country's black population from the late 17th century to current times. "We wanted to make this history a visible one, with all the markers of grand history", explains historian Pascal Blanchard, editor of La France noire, trois siècles de présence, (‘Black France, a presence over three centuries'). The book blows away many social myths, and fills the deafening silence of traditional teaching that ignores the place of black people in the making of the history of France. Here, Blanchard tells Joseph Confavreux how he and his team approached this ambitious project and comments for Mediapart a series of documents contained in the work.
Socialite François-Marie Banier, accused of being a bullying fortune hunter by the daughter of L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, published a novel (left) in his youth with a plot that eerily echoes the current scandal surrounding him and the 88 year-old matriarch from whom he has received almost one billion euros. In Banier's book, the hero worms his way into the affections of a wealthy family uncannily similar to the Bettencourts, earning him, among other things, the lifelong enmity of their daughter.