Culture

five things to know about the philanthropic writer

Dominique Lapierre died on Sunday December 4 on the Côte d’Azur. The philanthropic writer, who has sold tens of millions of copies, has carried out numerous humanitarian actions, particularly in India, which he considered his second homeland.

►His humanitarian actions have enabled the healing of a million tuberculosis patients

Dominique Lapierre’s biggest success is a book he wrote alone, The City of Joy (1985). The novel is about a slum in Calcutta and has sold 12 million copies. A good part of its royalties was given to the poorest, in particular to programs to fight against leprosy, cholera or tuberculosis.

In 2005, he ensured that, thanks to his royalties, donations from readers and earnings from conferences delivered all over the world, his humanitarian action “had made it possible to cure 1 million tuberculosis patients in twenty-four years, treat 9,000 leprosy children, build 540 drinking water wells and equip four hospital ships on the Ganges delta”.

Dominique Lapierre, who spoke Bengali fluently, had also opened several schools in the Calcutta region.

►India, his second homeland

India, which Dominique Lapierre considered his second homeland, is the country where he carried out the majority of his humanitarian actions. The writer has been there more than 30 times and has worked with millions of people, especially in the state of West Bengal.

In 2008, he received the Padma-Bhushan medal, awarded by the Indian government for his action against poverty.

“We have been in shock since the news of the death of Dominique Lapierre”, Abdul Wohab, director of the Indian charity Southern Health Improvement Society near Calcutta, told AFP. “It’s heartbreaking” he added.

► Meeting with Mother Teresa

In the early 1980s, after the publication of This night freedom, he disembarks with his wife at Mother Teresa’s in Calcutta. He begins by giving her $50,000, saying: “It’s a drop in the ocean of needs. » The nun (who died in 1997 and was declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2016) replied: “Without it, the ocean would not be the ocean. »

After this meeting, he committed himself even more financially to the fight against poverty in this region of West Bengal.

► Larry Collins, his feather brother

Dominique Lapierre’s career has been marked by his fruitful collaboration with the American writer Larry Collins. After Is Paris burning?about the liberation of the French capital during the Second World War, they write where you will mourn me in 1968 on the bullfighter El Cordobes, O Jerusalem (1972), Tonight freedom in 1975 on the independence of India, The Fifth Horseman (1980, fiction around an atomic bomb) and the thriller Is New York Burning? (2004).

The two men complemented each other. Dominique Lapierre investigated the French secret services and Larry Collins the CIA. The first wrote in French and the second in English, and each translated the other.

The book completed, Dominique Lapierre the extrovert left to promote in the French-speaking and Spanish-speaking world. More discreet, sticking more to raw facts, Larry Collins, who died in 2005, was going to praise the merits among the Anglo-Saxons. The two occupied mansions side by side in the south of France.

► Two movies

Among the fifteen or so works by Dominique Lapierre, two have been adapted for the big screen. The City of Joy was the subject of a film, directed by Roland Joffé in 1992.

Another of his bestsellers, Is Paris burning?, was adapted for the screen by René Clément with a host of stars, such as Frenchman Jean-Paul Belmondo and American Kirk Douglas. Americans Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal co-wrote the screenplay.

Source : WORLD NEWS

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