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The Mirror-Walker ("La Passe-miroir"), by Christelle Debos
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The Mirror-Walker ("La Passe-miroir"), by Christelle Debos

In Christelle Debos’s debut novel The Mirror-Walker, a young-adult fantasy, objects have souls and the heroine has the power to travel between worlds.

 

 

© Gallimard
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A successful test-run

Christelle Debos was born to a family of musicians on the Côte d'Azur. But the young woman didn’t like it there and in 2005 decided, at the age of 25, to settle in Belgium. There she wrote her first novel.

 

In 2012, Christelle Debos won the Prix du Premier Roman Jeunesse created by Gallimard, RTL and Télérama, which allowed her to see her manuscript published: The Mirror-Walker, the first volume in a young-adult fantasy series, appeared in 2013.

 

The second volume, subtitled The Disappeared of Clairdelune (“Les Disparus du Clairdelune”) was released in 2015 and the third, The Babel Memoir (“La Mémoire de Babel”), in 2017.

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From adventure to adventure

 

The Mirror-Walker tells the tale of Ophélie. After the Fracture that destroyed our universe, there remain just 21 islands, moving around the Earth’s core. Each island is inhabited by a community with supernatural powers and managed by an “immortal spirit”. Ophélie lives on Anima, where objects have souls. This heroine is able to experience their history by touching them, but also to travel from island to island by crossing through mirrors.

 

Taken by force to the Pole Island to marry a strange man, Ophélie finds herself immersed in fantastic adventures, full of power games, plots and dangers.

 

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Writing as a driving force

Walking around the woods near her home in 2007, Christelle Debos imagined a face coming out of a mirror and getting tangled in a scarf. Obsessed with this flash of an image, Christelle Debos then began writing her novel. A few months later, the young learned that she was suffering from jaw cancer. In her three-year fight against the disease, writing came to her rescue.

 

It was on “Plume d'Argent”, a portal where writes can publish their texts for free, that she found her first readers, by submitting a few chapters. She then went on to look for a publisher.

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An international success

While the first two volumes of The Mirror-Walker won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in 2016 in the category of French-speaking children’s novel, the third volume topped the best-seller list when it was released in 2017.

 

Thanks to its success in France, the novel has been translated and published in Colombia, Hungary, Italy, Russia and Turkey.

 

The young author’s next dream: to see her work adapted as an animated film by Studio Ghibli, created in 1985 by the Japanese film-maker Hayao Miyazaki, creator of, among other films, Princess Mononoke and Ponyo.

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The Institut français and the project

The Mirror Walker (“La Passe-miroir”) has been translated into Russian and Spanish with the support of the Institut français.

 

Through its translation support programmes, the Institut français participates in the global dissemination of French-language literature. 

 

Learn more about the publication assistance programmes