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La joueuse d’échecs (Liana Levi, 2006)

©Sylvie Biscioni

Bertina Heinrichs was born in Germany and has been living in France for fifteen years. She studied literature and the cinema before becoming a screenwriter for documentaries and fiction. Bertina Heinrichs was fascinated by the light and colours of the Greek islands where she travelled on more than one occasion (and that makes her story all the more authentic) and wrote her first novel La Joueuse d’échecs directly in French. It amuses her to think back on her thesis in Jussieu that dealt with writers who changed languages in exile ! She has sold the film rights to her novel and a film starring Sandrine Bonnaire in the role of Eleni is in the works. The rights have also been bought in Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Spain, and Rumania, as well as Germany where Hoffmann Und Campe the prestigious publishers have already sold 50,000 copies in translation.

In french

Bibliography :

  • La joueuse d’échecs (Liana Levi, 2006)

A brief summary of La Joueuse d’échecs :

Eleni is a chambermaid in a tourist hotel on the island of Naxos. At forty-something, she is a bit slovenly and the hotel rooms she cleans every morning, the objects she sees there and the lives she imagines through them are her only bit of freedom in an otherwise boring life between her mechanic husband (whom she married at eighteen), two teenage children and a childhood friend. One day, she upsets one of the pieces on a chessboard where a game is in progress. This small gesture will change her whole life, as she will very unexpectedly develop a passion for the game that literally amazes all the villagers. The author paints the portrait of a beautiful universal and timeless woman and her emancipation. Bertina Heinrichs is a great storyteller !