Alexandre Vialatte passed away in 1971 and the following year Ferny Besson, Vialatte’s son Pierre and his friends, of whom Jean Dutourd, Jacques Laurent,Gaston Bonheur, Jean Dubuffet, Philippe Kaeppelin, André Chamson and many more… impulsively decided to create the Friends d’Alexandre Vialatte’s Association with the aim of keeping his memory alive as well as making him and his work better-known.
Ferny Besson endeavoured herself at gathering articles that had appeared in various periodicals and having them publishing by Julliard from 1978 onwards.
It’s the first one of those books entitled Dernières nouvelles de l’homme that I accidently bought one day. I was so thrilled by my new discovery that I filled in the membership form that Ferny put inside every volume. However, my wife was a nursery teacher, and I picked an envelope that she had used to put paper letters to help her small schoolchildren compose words.
I got a phone call a couple of days later from Ferny Besson:
- « Cher Monsieur, je tente de résoudre le rébus que vous m’avez envoyé… en vain. »
I didn’t understand what she was trying to say and went to meet her. I was immediately charmed by this older lady and we became great friends. Friendship is a key word in Alexandre Vialatte’s world. Soon after our first meeting, Ferny wanted to “step down” from her role and organised a diner in her work studio on rue de Plantes with a large number of her friends to “enthrone” me.
Since then, I have been looking after this Association which is very dear to me, helped by Georges Allary who chaired the Association until he died and shared a strong friendship with Vialatte as well as the same sense of humour. I have also been helped by François Béal and Denis Wetterwald who did their utmost to talk about the writer in their books and in theatre.
At the same time, my friendship with Pierre Vialatte was growing stronger. He showed me his archives that he was putting together with great care, almost matching a librarian’s rigour, and with an undying love for his father’s life and work. It is thanks to him that in the Cahiers published every year by the Association and by other editors, Vialatte’s short stories, unpublished texts and correspondences are gathered together and regularly published.
One day, a friend of the Association, Jacques Letertre, called me to tell me about his project of literary hotels. He invited me to Hotel Swann to show me his first venture and this is when I found out he was passionate about literature and a big connoisseur of Fruits du Congo‘s author. It is little to say that Pierre and I were delighted by his wonderful initiative of launching a hotel in Clermont.
Especially, that this project is also about transferring the Vialatte Fund to the Jacques Doucet Literary Library of which Jacques Letertre is Chairman of the Friends Association. Always friends… how wonderful!
Please join us! On Facebook, an Alexander Vialatte group is led by a friend, Alain Allemand. You will receive every day a few words taken from his short stories, illustrated. I am sure that if there’s a wifi connection up there on his cloud, Alexandre Vialatte must be thrilled!
Chairman of the Association des amis d’Alexandre Vialatte
BEST WESTERN PLUS LITERARY HOTEL ALEXANDRE VIALATTE
16 place Delille.
63000 CLERMONT FERRAND
Tel: +33(0)4 73 91 92 06
Fax: +33(0)4 73 91 60 25