Timothée de Fombelle
Grade: 8th grade
From January 23 to 27, 2017
Project: Students worked on recreating the sets of different scenes of Timothée de Fombelle’s book, Vango, a novel set across many eras.
Timothée de Fombelle was born in 1973 in Paris, but his architect father often took him to Africa. Each summer, the family vacationed in the countryside in western France, where he and his siblings played in the woods, performed plays for their parents, and read the books in the library. At the age of seventeen, he founded the theater group La Troupe des Bords de Scène for which he wrote and staged.
At first he was a literature teacher. After teaching in Paris and Vietnam, he became a playwright, building his own sets.
He made his debut as a playwright with Le Phare, which he wrote in 1990 with actor Clément Sibony. Many of his plays, such as Je danse toujours, center on loss and fragility, but he sometimes writes comedies, such as Rose Cats. Je danse toujours was read at the opening of the Festival d’Avignon.
In 2006, he made his debut as an author with Toby Alone, a young adult novel published by Gallimard Jeunesse. The novel met with great success and has been translated into 29 languages. It has received 20 awards, including the English Marsh Award, the Italian Andersen Award, and most French awards for children’s literature. The movie rights were bought by Amber Entertainment (UK, United States). Toby Alone and its sequel Toby and the Secrets of the Tree tell the story of a boy a millimeter and a half tall who lives in an oak tree and must save it from destruction. “To me, the trees are green planets and like these trees, my planet earth is also endangered,” said de Fombelle.
In March 2010, Gallimard Jeunesse published the first volume of a new dilogy, Vango. It takes place across Europe in the 1930s. The two books are called Between Sky and Earth and A Prince without Kingdom. In 2014 he published Le Livre de Perle which was awarded the LFNY 2016 Literary Prize.