meet the author : Giuliano da Empoli
The Swiss-Italian essayist, commentator and political adviser Giuliano da Empoli used to write essays in Italian about society and the economy. And yet it is a novel he decided to write, in French moreover, in order to delve into the brilliantly tortuous psyche of a certain Vadim Baranov, Vladimir Putin’s éminence grise and his regime’s spin doctor. Da Empoli’s first novel, The Wizard of the Kremlin (forthcoming October 2023) is a masterpiece. It won the Grand prix du roman of the Académie française and the Choix Goncourt in Belgium in 2022.
The protagonist is none other than the enigmatic Vadim Baranov: a director and producer of reality TV shows who has become the éminence grise of Putin, the so-called Tsar. After his resignation as political adviser, all sorts of legends about him start spreading, without anyone being able to tell the truth from the lies. Until, one night, he confides his story to the narrator of this book …
Freely inspired by Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s adviser until 2021, Giuliano da Empoli’s impressive first novel plunges us into the heart of Russian power, a political theatre where the only reality is the fulfilment of the Tsar’s wishes.
From the war in Chechnya to the Ukrainian crisis via the Sochi Olympics, The Wizard of the Kremlin is the great novel of contemporary Russia. Lifting the veil on the Putin era and currently being translated into a dozen languages, it offers a sublime and captivating meditation on power in a most elegant style.
The interview will be led by Arnaud Ruyssen (RTBF) and extracts will be read by Annette Gatta.
about the author
Giuliano da Empoli is a Swiss-Italian writer who was born in France in 1973. He is a former adviser to Matteo Renzi. A finalist for the Prix Goncourt and the winner of the Grand prix du roman of the Académie Française, The Wizard of the Kremlin (forthcoming October 2023) was recently selected as the Choix Goncourt de la Belgique by 300 Belgian students from fifteen French- and Dutch-speaking universities and colleges.
Org. Passa Porta, Ambassade de France en Belgique, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, Alliance Française Bruxelles-Europe, Choix Goncourt de la Belgique