AUTHOR Ann Scott
Publisher Calmann-Lévy
Publication Date 23 August 2023

Literature and Fiction


Les Insolents won its author, Ann Scott - internationally famous since her novel Superstars - the prestigious Renaudot Prize. This work is the former model, musician and French rock literature icon’s tenth novel.

Les Insolents is the story of Alex, Margot and Jacques. They live in Paris and are inseparable. However, at the age of forty-five, Alex, a film music composer, decides to leave the city because she feels she is no longer herself. She settles at the far end of Brittany where, alone and isolated, she reinvents herself. 
Les Insolents is also the story of Ann Scott, who started writing at the age of 29 after having been a model and a drummer in a punk band. She had frequented the Parisian underground nightlife, before deciding, in 2019, to leave the city for the coast of Brittany where she now has to walk "seven kilometers to buy bread", she tells Le Monde, with a bit of self-mockery.
"I wanted to write a book about a musician who tries to get away from the noise of pop culture so she can compose in peace. I wanted her to find herself in a sort of void so she could discover what she has within herself. But it turns out that she is so happy living on the coast that she doesn’t even need to work. I found the idea intriguing," says the author. 
"It is fictionalized reality. At the age of 57, Ann Scott has written a very personal, very intimate novel about the desire to leave the hustle and bustle of the city to find some peace in nature and silence - and beauty," explains Adélaïde Sorel, head of foreign rights at Calmann-Lévy. 
Loved by readers, Les Insolents has also been highly praised by the press and critics in France and abroad. Twenty-three years after her novel Superstars, which influenced an entire generation and became a French pop culture cult book, with Les Insolents she has been awarded the prestigious Renaudot Prize – a true consecration for an author.
"What hasn't she done, this ex-model, this ex-drummer in a punk band... Twenty-three years on, this openly delusional story depicts, with great finesse and complete sincerity, the present generation of capricious teenagers, overwhelmed with themselves (...). It is also a reflection on the values of society, (luckily, only) challenged by the Covid pandemic. Through her energetic and humoristic lucidity, Ann Scott, who created her fictional double in Alex, is bang on," says the magazine Le Point.

"Every periodical, even the foreign press, and most notably The Guardian, which devoted an entire page to this novel, was unanimous in its praise of the great literary quality of this work and Scott’s uncompromising writing that knows how to carry us away," remarks Adélaïde Sorel, who also points out the universal aspect of this novel: "We are drawn in by its astonishingly acute characters and more generally, we are touched by her subtle reflection on our disappointing dreams and the loneliness and absurdity of our contemporary society. The universality of this story is communicated through the talent of an author who exemplifies one of the many facets of French literature. The book begins in New York, passes through Paris and continues on into Brittany. This novel is a great journey in and of itself. »
Les Insolents has sold 90,000 copies in France. To date, it has been translated into Catalan and Italian.
Katja Petrovic
June 2024