Olivier Weber

Olivier Weber
Olivier Weber in Afghanistan

Olivier Weber is an award-winning french writer, novelist and reporter at large. War correspondent for twenty-five years, specially in Afghanistan, Africa, Middle-East and Iraq. Assistant professor at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, president of the Prize Joseph Kessel, he is today ambassador of France at large. His novels, travels writing books and essays have been translated in a dozen of languages.



Olivier Weber, born in 1958 in Montluçon, France, is a writer, novelist and reporter at large. He has studied economics and anthropology at the University of San Francisco, University of Paris Sorbonne, University of Nice (Ph.D.) and at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, INALCO). He won the Albert Londres Prize and Joseph Kessel Prize for his reports on wars and books.

The guerilla years

Assistant professor at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), he began his career of journalist in California. Then he was sent in Africa for the french daily Liberation, to cover several wars and conflicts. He joined the french weekly Le Point as a journalist and later was appointed foreign correspondent. As a war correspondent, he has traveled with a dozen of guerillas and armed movements. He has covered around twenty wars and conflicts, including wars and armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, Kurdistan, Chechnya, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Chad, Pakistan, Kashmir, Algeria, Iran, Armenia, Russia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Western Sahara, East Timor, Erythrea. He then continues its activities as a writer, whose style is sometimes compared to that of Conrad and Cendrars[1][2][3]. Since then, he travels the world, from United States to China, from Africa to the East which became his passion[4][5]. He brought from these illegal trips and stays several stories, surveys and novels, including Dragon Hunters: Opiomistan trip, and The White Death on the world of drug dealers.

The committed writer

Committed writer[6], Olivier Weber has written a lot of lost causes and indigenous people. He has defended in particular the resistance of South Sudan and has denouced the slavery of sudanese children. He participated at the operations of saving the boat people, in the China Sea, with volunteers of the international NGO Doctors of the World (Médecins du Monde). He has also defended the afghan mujahideen during the war against soviet army and then against the pro-commuunist regime of Najibullah and had traveled several times with the rebels and Commander Massoud. After criticizing the regime of talibans, he has been expelled from Afghanistan by the militians of Mollah Umar. His denunciation of human trafficking by the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka and disposal of their prisoners, after several trips to the bush,[7] brought him new threats. The plane was to take it from Jaffna to Colombo was deliberately shot down by fighters of the armed movement. Following an expedition with one of the Burmese guerrillas, he met secretly in Rangoon the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi[8].

In August 2001, he traveled to Central Asia to lauch a humanitarian mission in the Panjshir Valley and bring to Ahmed Shah Massoud proofs of his book The Afghan Hawk. A few days later, September 9, 2001, two days before the attacks of the World Trade Center, the Lion of Panjshir was assassinated by two terrorists of Al Qaeda. Olivier Weber will attend his funeral, when the Taliban launched a major offensive. His testimony and his denunciation of the Taliban regime and the rise of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia have earned him death threats[9] · [10]. He has published on Central Asia and the Silk Road several books: The Great Feast of the East, The Afghan Hawk: a journey to the land of the Taliban, Memory murdered, Road of drugs, The White Death [11].

He has also denounced the impunity of the Khmer Rouge in the mountains of western Cambodia, after meeting in the underground movement leaders Ieng Sary and Khieu Samphan, both former deputies of Pol Pot[12] · [13].

In May 2009, he gives the award Joseph Kessel Prize to the writer and member of the French Academy Erik Orsenna for his fight for water and his latest book[14].

The film of his book Cursed for Gold (J'aurais de l'or), travelogue on human trafficking in the Amazon and other traffickings related to deforestation and the massacre of Native Americans, was the subject of a remarkable press and has been described as a witness in the vein of Darwin's Nightmare and Blood diamond,.[15] · [16] · [17].

His essay on Joseph Kessel, Kessel, The Eternal nomad, highlights the commitment of the reporter and member of the French Academy.[18]

He is a member of the Albert Londres Award's jury. Author and writer of documentaries, he is also editor of the series "Writers travelers."

The ambassador

Olivier Weber has been nominated in 2008 ambassador of France at large, in charge of human trafficking and human rights. He has done several dozens of missions for this task in Asia, Africa, Central America, Middle East, and advocates at the tribune of the United Nations mainly on human trafficking, child soldiers, fight against drugs, civil society and human rights[19] · [20]. He has received several awards and prizes of literature and journalism, among them the prestigious Albert Londres Prize, considered as the french Pulitzer prize, for his articles and reports. He is a selection committee member for literature awards and member of the Société des Explorateurs Français (Society of the French Explorers).

Literature and Journalism Prizes and Awards

  • Prize Lazareff 1991
  • Prix Albert Londres 1992
  • Special Prize of War correspondents 1997
  • Second Prize of War correspondents 1997
  • Prize Joseph Kessel 1998
  • Prize Mumm 1999
  • Prize of Adventure 1999
  • Graduate of the Foundation Journalist Tomorrow
  • Prize of the FIPA (International Festival of Audiovisual Programmes) 2001
  • Laureate of Audiovisual 2001
  • Prize Louis Pauwels 2002
  • Special Prize of the International Festival of News Reporting (Festival international de grand reportage d'actualités) 2003
  • Prize of the Public of the International Festival of News Reporting (Festival international de grand reportage d'actualités) 2003
  • Prize Cabourg 2004
  • Prize of the Academy of Vichy 2005
  • Laureate of the fellowship "Writers Stendhal", 2001 and 2005
  • Trophy of the Adventure for the film Cursed for Gold (La Fièvre de l'or), adapted from his book I will have gold (J'aurai de l'or) on Amazonia, 2008
  • Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur en 2009
  • Prize Terra Festival 2010
  • Prize Amerigo Vespucci 2011

Novels, essays and travel writing books

  • The Barbary Corsair (Le Barbaresque), (Flammarion, 2011)
  • Conrad, the Traveller of concern (Arthaud-Flammarion, 2011)
  • I will have gold (J'aurai de l'or) (Robert Laffont, 2008)
  • Is Tibet a lost cause? (Le Tibet est-il une cause perdue?), (Larousse, 2008)
  • The White Death (La mort blanche) (Albin Michel, 2007)
  • On the Silk Roads (Sur les routes de la soie) (avec Reza, (Hoëbeke, 2007)
  • Kessel, the eternal nomad (Kessel, le nomade éternel) (Arthaud, 2006)
  • The Angels battle (La Bataille des anges) (Albin Michel, 2006)
  • The Big Feast of the East (Le grand festin de l’Orient) (Robert Laffont, 2004)
  • Memory murdered (La Mémoire assassinée) (Mille et une nuits, 2004)
  • I am from nowhere: on the tracks of Ella Maillart (Je suis de nulle part : sur les traces d’Ella Maillart), (Éditions Payot, 2003)
  • Humanitaires (Le Félin, 2002)
  • La mémoire assassinée (Mille et Une Nuits, 2001)
  • Le faucon afghan : un voyage au pays des talibans (Robert Laffont, 2001)
  • On ne se tue pas pour une femme (Plon, 2000)
  • Dragon Hunters: a stay in Opiumistan (Chasseurs de dragons : voyage en Opiomie) (Payot), 2000)
  • The Slave children (Les Enfants esclaves) (Mille et une nuits, 1999)
  • Lucien Bodard, un aventurier dans le siècle (Plon, 1997)
  • Road of drugs (La route de la drogue) (Arléa, 1996)
  • French doctors : L’épopée des hommes et des femmes qui ont inventé la médecine humanitaire (Robert Laffont, 1995)
  • Voyage au pays de toutes les Russies (Éditions Quai Voltaire, 1992)


Olivier Weber is the author, director and screenwriter of several films for television and theater, in particular on travels and on writers.

  • Documentary : Sudan: The Slave Children, France 2, 1998
  • Documentary : The Opium of talibans, french channels and theaters, 2001, Special Prize of FIPA
  • Documentary : Return to Cambodia, France 5, 2002[53],[21] · .[22]
  • Documentary : On the road of Ganga, Arte, 2003, prize of the Public of Figra and Prize of Image of Figra.[23]
  • Documentary : On the road of Nile, France 5, 2007.[24]
  • Documentary : The People of Opium (Le Peuple de l'opium), Canal Plus, 2007.[25]
  • Documentary : Cursed for Gold (La Fièvre de l'Or), Canal Plus and France 2, in french theaters in october 2008[26] · [27] · [28].

External links


  1. ^ In the Heart of darkness, J’aurai de l’or. En Amazonie, dans les ténèbres de l’Eldorado
  2. ^ Vianney Delourme, [1],  
  3. ^ Gilles Fumey, The Gold fever (Olivier Weber),  
  4. ^ "One of the best journalists of France" http://www.toutlecine.com/star/0008/00087442-olivier-weber.html
  5. ^ L'Express http://livres.lexpress.fr/critique.asp?idC=8336&idR=12&idTC=3&idG=8
  6. ^ Libération : Les journalistes écrivains à l'honneur http://www.liberennes.fr/libe/culture/page/2/
  7. ^ http://www.grands-reporters.com/Sri-Lanka-Voyage-au-coeur-de-la.html
  8. ^ Karens: les derniers rebelles http://www.agoravox.fr/actualites/international/article/karens-les-derniers-rebelles-29687
  9. ^ Unesco et Reporters sans frontières http://portal.unesco.org/ci/fr/ev.php-URL_ID=4668&URL_DO=DO_PRINTPAGE&URL_SECTION=201.html
  10. ^ Kabul Press: World Independent Writers' Home in exile http://kabulpress.org/humanrights4.htm
  11. ^ The White death: A love story on Afghanistan http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4617559-la-mort-blanche
  12. ^ Retour au Cambodge http://www.cambodgevision.fr/textes/entretien2dglobes_trotters.pdf
  13. ^ The Far West of Pailin http://www.grands-reporters.com/Le-Far-West-de-Pailin.html
  14. ^ Le Monde : le prix Joseph Kessel http://www.lemonde.fr/cgi-bin/ACHATS/acheter.cgi?offre=ARCHIVES&type_item=ART_ARCH_30J&objet_id=1083643
  15. ^ Un film vérité sur fond de désastre écologique et humanitaire http://www.culturclub.com/cinemag/repliques/repliques-0007_la-fievre-de-l-or_link.html
  16. ^ Olivier Weber a choisi de plaider, à sa manière, la cause des plus faibles http://www.culturclub.com/cinemag/grandlarge/grand-large-0014_la-fievre-de-lor_1.html
  17. ^ Cursed for Gold http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1469885/
  18. ^ France Inter: Partir avec Weber et Kessel http://www.teleobs.com/tv_programs/2010/9/24/chaine/france-inter/21/0/partir-avec
  19. ^ United Nations: Against the new slavery http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/french/detail/107924.html
  20. ^ The New Observer: The last Khmer rouge http://bibliobs.nouvelobs.com/article/20110105.OBS5724/5-janvier-2011-les-derniers-khmers-rouges-vus-par-l-ecrivain-voyageur-olivier-weber-75006.html
  21. ^ Return to Cambodia http://www.evene.fr/culture/agenda/retour-au-cambodge-5236.php
  22. ^ Festival des Globe Trotters
  23. ^ Figra http://www.figra.fr/arch2004.html
  24. ^ France 5 http://blog.france5.fr/ItinerairesMythiques/index.php/Route-du-nil
  25. ^ Film-documentaire http://www.film-documentaire.fr/Peuple-opium.html,film,25626
  26. ^ Challenges http://www.challenges.fr/styles/culture/0139.016766/un_filon_de_mauvais_aloi.html
  27. ^ Libération http://www.ecrans.fr/Pour-une-poignee-d-or-pur,5418.html
  28. ^ Cursed for Gold Cannes Film Festival http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5cvnl_cursed-for-gold-the-new-gold-rush-i_shortfilms

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