An extraordinary, moving story of a determined and brave woman, we have chosen Epic Annette as one of our Books of the Month this August. Masterfully written in the form of an epic poem by Anne Weber and translated by Tess Lewis, it is a unique retelling of the life of Annette Beaumanoir, a medical student from Brittany who joined the French Resistance and saved the lives of two Jewish children during WWII, aged just nineteen. This is a title of heroism and courage with a perpetual message of hope and perseverance for all eras that will last many lifetimes.
In 1944, on an unauthorised mission, nineteen-year-old Annette set out to rescue two Jewish children — not much younger than herself — on the evening of their deportation to a concentration camp. Narrowly escaping the Gestapo, Annette reunited the family in northern France, helping to save them from an unimaginable fate. Annette Beaumanoir continued to achieve many remarkable accomplishments, such as becoming a professor of neurology and directing a neurophysiology department in a Genevan hospital, fought for and was arrested for supporting the National Liberal Front during the Algerian War and working as a Minister for Health in Algeria. Right up until her death in March 2022, she never stopped standing up for justice and human rights, giving school demonstrations about her cause and committing herself to Syrian refugees.
Winner of an English PEN Award 2022, Anne Weber’s original and poignant epic is a true homage to Annette Beaumanoir, with beautiful verse, heart-rending imagery and sensational emotion. It is a bold and spirited tribute to a resilient, historic woman whose lifetime and magnitude of activism has, and will, benefit humanity’s welfare for the better.
Praise for Epic Annette
‘Annette is a rare heroine whose fierce courage almost demands an unusual, and beautiful, account of her life. She stood out in life and this epic will ensure that she is honoured in death. She deserves nothing less.’Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes
‘A riveting and highly original retelling of the life of Annette Beaumanoir.The Bookseller
‘It pushes linguistic, narrative and genre conventions to their limits, while posing big ethical questions, as its heroine’s idealism comes up against dirty realpolitik.’Times Literary Supplement (review of the German Edition)
Epic Annette by Anne Weber, translated by Tess Lewis, is published on 25/08/2022
(The Indigo Press, 9781911648451, p/b, £11.99)