* 14.09.1926, Mons-en-Barœul, France † 24.08.2016, Contamine-sur-Arve, France
Michel Butor was born on September 14, 1926, in a suburb of Lille, France. His father, Emile Butor, worked in the administration of Chemins du fer du Nord, but was passionate about drawing, watercolor painting, and wood carving. In 1929, the Butor family moved to Paris where young Michel would complete all of his studies, except for 1939-1940, during the Phoney War, which he spent in Evreux.
Having been already been possessed by the “demon of writing” for some time, Michel Butor published his first novels through the French publisher Editions Minuit, with the help of his agent-manager Georges Lambrichs. He continued to travel, for both professional reasons and exploratory ones. He traveled to Greece and then Switzerland, where he met Marie-Jo who became his wife in 1958. Three daughters were not long to follow, as well as a fourth later on. This period in his life was characterized by literary awards, work at publishing houses, a bit of the Parisian lifestyle, conferences here and there, as well as several trips to the United States. After May ’68, Michel Butor decided to return to teaching in French universities. He moved to Nice after a year in the Far West of the United States. He was named professor of the faculté de lettres in Geneva.
His books accumulated, each one with a new surprise : essays, “narratives of daytime and nighttime,” poems, and new combinations of all of these. These all brought about the demise of a dull and routine mindset while his collaborations with painters, musicians, and photographers multiplied. He took trips to Japan, Australia, and China. Retired since 1991, he lived in a village in Haute-Savoie, France until his death in 2016.