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Yves Henri Michel Navarre
(September 24, 1940 - January 24, 1994) France

Yves Navarre

Novelist, playwright


Yves NavarreNavarre was born at Condom (sic!), in Gascony. The family moved to Paris and Navarre was sent to the Lycée Pasteur in neuilly-sur-Seine, where he was constantly bullied until well into his teens. His father had done his best to "save" the young Yves from his sexual orientation, largely because he was afraid that a homosexual son would hinder his political aspirations. He even went so far as to try to have the boy lobotomised as part of a so called cure but was mercifully stopped by other members of the family.

He was an outstanding student with a flair for languages. He earned degrees in Spanish, English, and modern literature from the Université de Lille III in 1961 and 1964 and attended École des Hautes Études Commerciales du Nord in 1964. He has written novels, plays and poems from an early age.

He began submitting manuscripts for publication in 1958 and his first novel, Lady Black, was published in 1971, followed others each year through 1984 when he suffered a stroke. He resumed publishing in 1986 until 1991. Navarre received France's top literary award, the "Concourt Prize" in 1980 for Le Jardin d'Acclimatation (The Zoological Garden), published in England as Cronus' Children, and in 1992 the "Académie Française Prize" for the body of his work.

Yves NavarreNavarre is noted for his treatment of mature themes, including homosexual relations, spiritual imprisonment, and the mystical qualities of love. His approach to such topics is formal rather than sensationalized. He told Contemporary Authors that his "novel Biographie is the key to all my other novels and plays."

Yves Navarre has previously written openly about his own homosexuality, in particular in his autobiography, Romans, un roman (in which he documents the appalling ignorance his parents exhibited, believing their son should undergo a lobotomy to be "cured"!). However, despite the highly autobiographical nature of Ce sont amis, Navarre adopts a fictional identity to recount his young lover's last days. In this book Navarre's creative and literary powers are at their highest.

Yves NavarreYves, who was President Mitterand's favourite writer, has said:

"I am a writer. I am gay. I am not a gay writer."
Navarre died 53 years old, of an overdose of barbiturates, in Paris.


  • Biographie (1981)
  • Romans, un roman (1988)
  • Lady Black (1971)
  • Evolène (1972)
  • Les Loukoums (1973)
  • Le Coeur qui cogne (1974)
  • Kurwenal ou la Part des êtres (1977)
  • Le Petit galopin de nos corps (1977)
  • Je vis ou je m'attache (1978)
  • Portrait de Julien devant la fenêtre (1979)
  • Le Temps voulu (1979)
  • Le Jardin d'acclimatation (1980)
  • Romances sans paroles (1982)
  • Premières pages (1983)
  • Hôtel Styx (1989)
  • Ce sont amis que vent emporte (1991)
  • Poudre d'or (1993)
  • Killer (1975)
  • La ville atlantique (1996)
  • Théâtre... 1, Théâtre des peurs et des pleurs (1974)
  • Théâtre... 2 (1976)
  • Niagarak (1976)
  • Mon oncle est un chat... (1982)
  • L'Espérance de beaux voyages. 2, Hiver-printemps (1984)
  • L'Espérance de beaux voyages. 1, Eté-automne (1984)
  • Louise (1985)
  • Une Vie de chat (1986)
  • Fête des mères (1987)
  • Dernier dimanche avant la fin du siècle. (1994)
  • Plum parade : vingt-quatre heures de la vie d'un mini-cirque (1975 - text, Yves Navarre; illustrations, François Verdier)
  • Phoenix : le paysage regarde (1984 - text Yves Navarre ; photogr. Lucien Clergue)
  • Schlosser : (Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1973-1974 - text by Jean Clair & Yves Navarre)
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