“I’ve always written novels and short stories. However, unlike plays, it took me a long time to write a narrative I considered publishable. Whereas, paradoxically, the constraints of the theatre allowed me to realize my literary aspirations, for years the novel scared me off precisely because of the total freedom it offered, which I felt was open to abuse. Why write 300 pages instead of 100? How far do you go with description? What point of view do you adopt? By great good fortune, the subjects of my books forced my hand. They suggested themselves to me and made me listen to them and spend months writing their stories; they made me work for them, not the other way round. So, thank you Pilate, thank you Monsieur Ibrahim, thank you Oscar! As for Adolf Hitler, well, much as I like The Alternative Hypothesis, the book he inspired, I’m afraid I’m not in the habit of thanking him!”

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt