This is the highest award in the world of comics. The Franco-Syrian Riad Sattouf won the Grand Prix at the Angouleme Festival this Wednesday. A dedication to this 44-year-old designer who spent his humble youth in Syria. This story of the birth of the artist is told in detail in Arab of the future (Allary Editions), an autobiography compiled in six volumes (from 2014 to 2022), which sold over three million copies before the final volume appeared in bookstores. Having been on the shelf for just over a month since its release on November 22, this volume 6 was the 12th best-selling book in France in 2022.
“It’s very impressive”he said after applause. The author then wanted to pay tribute to his maternal grandmother, the one who first believed in his talent. “I wanted to make a comic, imagining that she would like to read it, the one who did not like it,” he explained. “I am deeply flattered and touched (…) This is the central element that was missing at the top of my ego pyramid.”it’s still running. — Make books and more books. Besides, I’m going to do it too.
However, in this touching and funny story about the vicissitudes and doubts of a child and teenager gifted with a pencil, it is impossible to sum up the work of the Franco-Syrian, but not in relation to the others. Riad Sattouf also decided to paint the life of a modern young Parisian since she was 10 years old, in Esther’s notebooks (7 volumes since 2016) and started to release actor Vincent Lacoste (young actor, so far 1 volume). In addition, the author became a film director and made two feature films, Beautiful children (2009), Cesar for Best First Film and Jackie in the kingdom of girls (2014). And he is preparing the third, along with the idols of youth: the comic trio of the Unknowns.
This tireless, meticulous worker juggles projects with an ease that is only apparent. In truth, he asks himself questions all the time. He says that in high school he was marked by a teacher who told him: “Sattouf, you have equipment, but do you know what happens to those who have equipment and who are not working?” Since he studied art and then worked in animation, his ratings have continued to rise. Future Arab 6 talks about his first steps as a near-anonymous comic book festival writer who had only one idea: to come back with another album that would make him famous.
This admirer of Philippe Druyer and Möbius has long believed in his destiny. Because in his maternal family, after returning to France in Rennes, we decided that he was a genius with a pencil in his hand. “I finally believed it”he recalls. At age 25, in 2003, he received the Goscinny Prize for Screenplay. Then in 2010 and 2015 he won the Fauve d’or at the Angouleme Festival, the prize for the best album of the year. “When success comes, there are bound to be moments when the ego inflates. It happened to me too!” he admitted. Just never at the expense of work.
This perfectionist pushed logic to the limit by becoming his own editor. In 2021, he founded Les Livres du futur, a house of which he is currently the sole author. But “I am a comic book writer first and foremost. I don’t do anything other than this” he explained in November.