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Hubert Nyssen

 Writer Hubert Nyssen was born in 1925 in Brussels. He studied literature at the Free University of Brussels and founded the Plans advertising agency and theatre in Brussels in 1957. He married and had a daughter, was a regular presenter on Belgian radio and travelled extensively. In 1968, he divorced and moved to Provence, where he set up the map-publishing house Atelier de Cartographie Thématique et Statistique, known as ACTES. His first novel, Le nom de l’arbre, was published. He took French citizenship in 1976, and founded the publishing house Actes Sud with his daughter Françoise, Christine Le Boeuf (a literary translator who became his second wife), Bertrand Py and Jean-Paul Capitani. Actes Sud published authors including Paul Auster, Nina Berberova, Günther Grass, Nancy Huston, Imre Kertész, Zoé Valdés and Alice Ferney. He completed his Doctorate in Letters at the University of Aix-en-Provence in 1986. In 1995, he presented a series of concerts on French radio and in 1996, made a film about Nina Berberova. He also wrote the librettos for the opera Mille ans sont comme un jour dans le ciel (with music by Dominique Lièvre) and Boa cantor (with music by Jean-Marie Sénia). The television channels ARTE and RTBF2 made and broadcast documentaries about him. In 2005, Actes Sud published its first strip-cartoon album: it also publishes translated literature, children’s books and sound recordings. Nyssen was awarded the 1984 Prix Valéry Larbaud for his writing and publishing achievements; he was elected to the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises de Belgique in 1999 ; he received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège in 2003, and was made an Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2005. He donated his literary papers to the University of Liège, and endowed a fund to run a literature centre there. He published his fourteenth novel in 2008. Today, Actes Sud employs over 110 people in Arles and Paris and its catalogue includes 5,200 books.

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