Is truth stranger than fiction?
Viviane Janouin-Benanti thinks it may be.
When she was in law school, she was deeply shocked by the case of the “séquestrée de Poitiers” (the “captive of Poitiers” featured in The Poitiers Affair). The facts of this case were horrific and quite inconceivable: a woman locked up for 25 years in a dark room, discovered completely naked, skeletal, covered with excrement, cockroaches, worms, and driven mad by her confinement. But the fact that the scene of the crime was a luxurious private mansion in Poitiers, that the kidnapped girl was the daughter of the former dean of the Faculté des Lettres and the sister of a former government official living in the house just across the street from the girl’s shuttered window, was a totally unbelievable situation. Yet it was the truth.
Viviane Janouin-Benanti Viviane Janouin-Benanti promised herself that she would write that woman’s story one day. In the meantime, her years of work in community outreach organizations introduced her to a number of real-life shocking cases and alarming situations which convinced her that human life is full of poignant tragedies. To comprehend this side of human existence, we just need to take the time to understand people’s motivations for their actions.
Short biography of Viviane Janouin-Benanti
With a background in law, politics, and public health, Viviane Janouin-Benanti spent many years working with community outreach organizations in France. Her first two books are related to her work in that field.
Today, Janouin-Benanti devotes her time exclusively to writing novels. Fascinated by true stories, her aim is to breathe life into her characters: real people who were the perpetrators and victims at the center of major criminal and historical cases.
Viviane Janouin-Benanti's novels
Viviane Janouin-Benanti's works of creative nonfiction revive a centuries-long French tradition of retelling the stories of criminal cases. Based on true facts, they portray the realities of France’s history, which was often tumultuous, vulnerable to regime changes, and rife with religious and social conflict. Viviane Janouin-Benanti dives deeply into her research to analyze the facts of each case, the motivations of key figures in the crimes, and other circumstances that may have contributed to the tragic events of each transgression. The human beings she describes are often very complex, and she does not try to simplify them. Through her study of court cases and the cultural contexts in which they occurred, she brings actual men and women back to life and tells their stories.
Lectures and interviews by Viviane Janouin-Benanti
Viviane Janouin-Benanti offers speaking engagements and lectures on the cases described in her novels. She has been interviewed about her books on numerous television and radio shows both in France and in Canada.
Viviane Janouin-Benanti has spoken about her books on numerous television and radio programs, both French (France 2, France 3, RTL, etc.) and Canadian (Radio Canada, local television programs from Québec, etc.).