French writer Dominique Lapierre, author of City of Joy, dies at 91

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Altaf Qadri

French writer Dominique Lapierre, the author of best-selling books on India like "Freedom at Midnight" and "City of Joy" and whose novels sold tens of millions of copies, has died at the age of 91.

Born on July 30, 1931, in Chatelaillon, Lapierre has sold about 50 million copies of the six books he wrote in collaboration with the American writer Larry Collins -- the most famous being "Is Paris Burning?"

The non-fiction book published in 1965 chronicled the events leading up to August 1944, when Nazi Germany surrendered control of the French capital, and was adapted for the silver screen by Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal.

His 1985 novel "City of Joy" -- about the hardships of a rickshaw puller in Kolkata -- was also a massive success. A movie based on it was released in 1992, starring Patrick Swayze and directed by Roland Joffe.

Lapierre donated the bulk of his royalties from "City of Joy" to support humanitarian projects in India.

When he visited Mother Teresa in Kolkata in the early 1980s, he presented her with $50,000, admitting it was "only a drop in the ocean of need".

The Albanian nun reportedly replied: "If this drop did not exist, even the ocean would not".

"It's not enough to just be a best-selling author," said the adventure-loving novelist, who spoke fluent Bengali.

After "Is Paris Burning?", he continued his fruitful partnership with Collins.


Read more on RFI English

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