Valentine Goby
Valentine Goby © Renaud Monfourny

Valentine Goby

"I have some intimate obsessions that sometimes coincide with certain images that come to me from outside. It is this kind of synergy between the internal and external that makes me want to write.

Since 2002, the author Valentine Goby has been a bestseller, tackling all genres and subjects, from the most frivolous to the most serious. Enjoyed by both adults and children, she devotes a large part of her time to meeting her readers at conferences, readings and workshops. 

Updated on 13/10/2021

5 min

The daughter of a perfumer and a weaver, Valentine Goby grew up in Grasse. After a childhood in contact with nature, she studied at Sciences Po before taking flight to Asia, where she worked in humanitarian aid. Her first novel, La Note sensible, was published in 2002 by Gallimard: it was the start of a prolific output, with several dozen novels and books for young people published in almost twenty years.

Formerly a teacher of French and the performing arts, she now devotes herself entirely to writing and workshops on literary creation. President of the Conseil permanent des écrivains from 2014 to 2017, her most recent novels, Kinderzimmer (2013) and Murène (2019), have received dozens of awards and are widely translated. 

A prolific writer at ease in all registers, Valentine Goby has been achieved public recognition above all for her ability to tackle serious subjects with tact and humanity. Kinderzimmer, awarded the prestigious Prix des libraires and Prix Gabrielle-d'Estrée in 2014, tackles the issue of deportation to the death camps, through the story of a woman who gives birth to a child in the Ravensbrück camp in Germany.

Murène, published in 2019, tackles the issue of disability through the mediation of sport and swimming. Inspired by the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Murène tells the story of a 22-year-old man who loses the use of his arms after an accident. It is 1956, just before the birth of Paralympic sports, and it is thanks to swimming and sport that François will slowly be able to rebuild his life.

Valentine Goby has written dozens of books for young people, starting with her novel Manuelo de la Plaine, published by Gallimard Jeunesse in 2007. With illustrator Ronan Badel, she has written extensively for the Français d'ailleurs collection, with a dozen volumes devoted to better understanding the history and issues of immigration.

Since 2015, she has also published several volumes in the Juliette Pommerol series, which features a young, slightly spoiled, mythomaniac heroine who has many adventures. Her latest work, Le Chapeau charmant, published by L'Ecole des loisirs, is an illustrated tale of a little girl's adventures with a mysterious hat that enchants her daily life by stimulating her imagination.

  • 1974


    Born in Grasse, in the Alpes Maritimes.

  • 2002


    Her first novel, La Note sensible, is published by Gallimard.

  • 2013


    Her novel Kinderzimmer (Actes Sud) receives more than ten awards.

  • 2014


    She became president of the Conseil permanent des écrivains.

  • 2019


    Murène, a novel about sport and disability.

The Institut français et the writer

L'Anguille, by Valentine Goby, is part of the "Novels for young adults" selection of the 2021 Pépites internationales. This programme of the Institut français promotes French-language children’s literature among French learners around the world. 

Find out more about Pépites Internationales 2021 ("International Gems”) programme 



L'institut français, LAB