Matzneff affair: Denise Bombardier salutes the courage of editor Vanessa Springora

Quebec novelist Denise Bombardier, who castigated Gabriel Matzneff’s sexual attraction for young adolescents in 1990, praised the publisher Vanessa Springora’s “courageous” and “remarkable” book on her past relationships with the writer .
“It is a remarkable, courageous book of surgical writing,” she comments for AFP.

In this autobiographical novel, Consent, Vanessa Springora describes how she was seduced by Gabriel Matzneff, almost fifty, when she was not even 14 years old.

“She tells how he sodomized her, the first time she was 13 and a half years old, she thought he loved her, then her life was hell,” notes Ms. Bombardier. The adolescent’s own mother “knew he was a pedophile” and nevertheless received him “because he was one of the bonzes of French literature”.

For several days a video has been circulating on social networks where Bernard Pivot quizzically questions the writer, in his program Apostrophes in March 1990, about his sexual attraction for “under 16s”.

The only one invited to react, Denise Bombardier marked the spirits by judging that Gabriel Matzneff would have “accounts to render to justice” if he did not have such a “literary aura”.

Denise Bombardier explained in a series of interviews that she received an email from Vanessa Springora thanking her for being the only one to publicly denounce the actions of Gabriel Matzneff.

“Vanessa says that [my intervention] gave her the strength, after 30 years, to write and to make up her mind to speak,” she explains.

“I did what I had to do,” she notes, recalling that this intervention won her many criticisms at the time in the Parisian literary community. “In this world, they spoke of me as the bad-fucked,” said the Quebec author to AFP. “I have never had a critic in the world again”.

“A few days ago [the former director of the literary pages of the World] Josyane Savigneau supported Matzneff and said that I was a purge, the writer Frédéric Beigbeder said that he would remain his friend: these people belong to a completely separate caste, ”she regrets.

“What makes me happy is to see how the young generations are scandalized to realize that it was like that in France,” she adds. “We thought that #MeeToo was a North American phenomenon, in France it also works,” she says.

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