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Pierre Mertens

Pierre Mertens (born October 9, 1939) is a Belgian French language writer, lawyer who specializes in international law, director of the Centre de sociologie de la littérature at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and literary critic with the newspaper Le Soir.

Influenced by Franz Kafka , Mertens starts to publish novels and short stories in 1969 and received the Prix Médicis in 1987 for Les éblouissements. He nevertheless continued his activities as a lawyer, partiicpating in many battles for Human rights. In 1989, he entered to the Académie royale de langue et littérature de Belgique. And was also named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France.

Mertens has reflected mcuh on the social function of the writer. For him, private life, fiction, and history are insperable. Thus he grants a central place to the memory in the creation of his works. To him the novelist finds his inspiration in their personal and the historical past. Mertens is particularly marked by the activities of his parents. His father a journalist and music lover and his mother a biologist and pianist). He was also much affected by the German occupation, the execution of the Rosenbergs or the tragedy of the miners of Marcinelle in 1956. Later as a scholar of international law he strongly denounces the genocide in Biafra, torture in Ireland, and the prisons of Pinochet.

Antoehr important inspration is music. In his novels, one finds the influence of the music, such as the leitmotifa which cross them (the figure of the tiger, for example). He is also the author of a booklet on opera, La passion de Gilles (1982).

His many travles and his extensive education has given him an international perspective. In Les Bons offices (1974) and Terre d'asile (1978), for example, Belgian history is presented from a foreign perspective. Mertens often sees his country as a synthesis of Europe and its problems.