17 June, 2012

Hubert Nyssen



Hubert Nyssen was a Belgian-French writer, publisher and founder of the Éditions Actes Sud.

Hubert Nyssen grew up in Boitsfort and settled in Provence in 1968. He became a naturalised French citizen in 1976. A novelist, diarist, essayist and poet, he was the author of numerous books.

During his childhood in Brussels, under the German occupation, he was influenced by his grandfather who gave him a taste for intellectual culture. After his university studies at the Free University of Brussels, he founded an advertising company which became one of the most prosperous in Belgium. At the same time, he ran his own cultural center in Brussels, spoke on the radio and published his first literary works. In 1978, breaking up with his past as a French businessman, he founded in Arles the éditions Actes Sud with the help of his wife Christine Le Bœuf, a descendant of a rich family of Belgian businessmen, Henry Le Bœuf and Albert Thys. In this new life, his dispositions for business and his literary talents were soon to bear fruit, whereas at the time, setting up a publishing house in the south of France constituted an unprecedented audacity, all large French publishing houses being Parisian. It was a challenge and a real "cultural exception". Among his many editorial successes, he made known the American author Paul Auster in French translation and published in French the Swedish thriller trilogy Millenium.

But he was also a talented author and published more than forty works in the fields of novel, theater, poetry and essays.

Doctor of Arts, he taught at the University of Provence and University of Liège. The University of Liège, which hosts its archives, the Nyssen Fund, appointed him Doctor honoris causa in 2003.

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