Nicole Lattès has left us. During fifty years of a career mirrored by the life of books and ideas in France, she has known many houses and almost all facets of the publishing profession, without ever losing the intuition, audacity and energy that made her a pillar of the profession.
Nicole Lattès began her editorial adventure at Editions Gallimard, where she was entrusted with the task of inventing a new way of distributing books. A pioneer in substance and form in a professional environment still very masculine, she invented there the network of books by correspondence Book at home before taking the direction of Editions maritimes and Overseas. She then joined her husband, Jean-Claude Lattès, at the eponymous editions where she edited notably Jorge Semprun or Jean d'Ormesson, while working for ten years as a discoverer of outstanding talents.
In 1993, she created her own publishing house, NiL, evoking both the identity of her initials and all the others opened by literature. A generalist of excellence, there was no sacred genre for Nicole Lattès: only exceptional authors that she knew how to uncover in France and abroad, and books, able to open our horizons, to bring us joy, serenity, height. Because she knew how to advise, convince and accompany authors better than anyone, Nicole Lattès was the birth mother of many texts, starting with the Memoirs of Jacques Chirac that she published in 2009 at NiL: Every step must be a goal. A mantra that applies perfectly to the editor, whose team management skills and sense of numbers have made a great boss of the field, able to take her teams in the most ambitious projects.
Co-director of Robert Laffont for nearly 15 years, she was both the queen of the political book and a legendary talent scout, just like Mathieu Ricard, whose career she accompanied. When she left Robert Laffont to become Guillaume Allary’s editorial advisor in the young eponymous editions, he followed her without hesitation. In this latest adventure, she participates with passion in the construction of dynamic and plural editions where Diane Brasseur, Riad Sattouf and Lauren Bastide rub shoulders in a engraved catalogue.
Sophie Fontanel, whom Nicole Lattès discovers and publishes in 1995, writes that «creativity is the wings we give each other». From one generation of writers to the next, those of Nicole Lattès have gone out with panache to offer readers books that have marked their time. Today we are losing a major figure in the French edition.
I extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.