“Here, there are books everywhere and everyone reads, even the small ones” explains Philippe – who is himself a journalist and author. “but no fetishism, no classification, no complex” he adds. It results an eclectic mix of books on the shelves. We see the latest book of Philippe – a 10 years investigation about the delinquency in Marseille – between a novel of Romain Gary and a book by Annie Ernaux. It’s pure random assures Philippe. “I don’t know what these authors would thing about it but I am fine with it” he says, amused. In closets there are also books, mainly comics. And there are more in the garage and the basement.


His first readings were comics. “Belgium from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s made me dream during childhood and teen years. Franquin is THE absolute genius for me.” On the shelves, we find the complete collection of Thorgal, a cult series of comics started in the 70’s. “A few days ago, my 8 year-old son who at home, bored. I showed him my collection of Thorgal, explaining him that, if it took me 20 years to discover what would happen between the first and the latest issues, he could do it in one single morning. I didn’t hear from him after that!”

Now Philippe reads lot of poetry: “I use poetry to write, it helps me to build my writing, to find words. When books of poetry are out of the shelves it means that I am in a writing phase” he explains. A glimps to his bedside table and his desk: we know that Philippe is writing at the moment. But, careful, Philippe has his exigencies to find inspiration: “If I love the poetry of Hugo, Breton, Apollinaire, these authors don’t help me to write. I prefer René Char, Vladimir Mayakovski, Charles Baudelaire or Walt Whitman… These books of poetry I read them as we listen to music, in a loop.”

Style and writing

Philippe suffers from dyslexia. “Reading and writing were not that easy for me” he remembers. But there was several authors and works that helped him a lot. Especially, the work of Felix Fénéon, a French journalist of the beginning of 20th century that used to write the news in a very short form. “Way before Twitter, he never used more than 140 signs!” It was a huge source of inspiration for Philippe’s journalistic style. The words of Roland Barthes about journalism were very important as well. “For me, the idea of writing is not the one of the author who sat at his table for hours, waiting for inspiration. It is on the opposite something very active and permanent. When I work on a book, I take notes all the time, even at night: I let a sheet of paper close to my bed to write the words that are coming to my mind.” And when Philippe finally sits at his desk, the book is almost written…