- Marie-Aude MurailAuthor–France
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Through her writings for children and young adults, Marie-Aude Murail has explored diverse literary territories. She started by telling stories about everyday life (the Émilien series), then she turned to adventure stories (the Nils Hazard series) and fantasy novels (Amour, vampire et loup-garou [Love, vampire and werewolf] or Tom Lorient). Afterwards, she started writing historical novels—such as Miss Charity, inspired by Beatrix Potter's life, a book in which she portrays a heroine full of character in Victorian England. Then her novels become more and more engaged in social themes: Oh, boy!, Maïté coiffure [Maïté Salon], Papa et maman sont sur un bateau [Daddy and mummy are on a boat], and more recently, the Sauveur et fils [Saviour and son] series; all of them are acclaimed by both young readers and critics.
For every text, Marie-Aude Murail renews her writing, in a constant search for improvement. She even rewrote some of her novels before they were reprinted, in order to adapt them to the young readers of today. She not only researches her subjects deeply before writing, she also encounters children and young adults in various places and on numerous occasions. From the Zones of Educational Priority (ZEP) to the international schools, Murail establishes a dialogue with readers and non-readers.
In my archives, I have examples of poems or raps, comics, photo-stories, drawings, collages, new covers for my books; I watched theatre plays, puppet shows, I took part in school radio broadcasts, videos on the internet, etc. So yes, I "compromised" myself with the schooling system; I even participated in the training of teachers. At the end, we all want the same thing: the best for the kids.
Convinced of the virtues of reading, Marie-Aude Murail has written many essays on the subject—such as "Continue reading, we don't like the recess" or "Writer for children: How I became one, why I stayed one." She also took part in seminars, where she expressed her views on the role of the author writing for children: "Tell the truth but not entirely, and especially do not talk rubbish." Murail is also committed to the defense of exiled or migrant children's rights. She addresses the topic in one of her novels, Vive la République! [Long live the Republic!]. Based on a true story, the novel tells the story of a school mobilized to help a family of undocumented migrants. Her thorough research on the pathways of refugee children led her to alert the public on the situation in France and to openly take a stand.
Marie-Aude Murail is very attentive to what's at stake in our society. She deals with difficult themes in her novels and touches the young public she debates with. In many respects, Murail embodies shared values defended by IBBY: committed to the cause of children and reading, she observes the world from a distance, seriously. With humor and a caring optimism, Marie-Aude Murail opens numerous windows on the major stakes of contemporary society. [End Page 20]