Josef Schovanec is a French writer, polyglot and activist for autistic people who has published four books including Voyages en Autistan (Plon, Paris) and Je Suis à l’Est !, the first memoir by an autistic person to be released by a major French publisher.
Josef was born in 1981 in the greater Paris region to Czech immigrant parents. After completing a degree at L’Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies), he studied Hebrew, Sanskrit, Persian, Amharic, Azeri, Azerbaijani and Ethiopian at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, on top of the Czech, German, Finnish and English, which he speaks fluently.
Josef Schovanec is also a weekly guest on radio stations Europe 1 (France) and la Première (RTBF, Belgium). In 2016, he was appointed as an advisor to the French Secretary of State for Disabled People and the Fight Against Exclusion.
Josef Shovanec will arrive in Wellington in mid-January 2017 and will stay for a five month residency. While in New Zealand, he will work on his next book and will travel on a speaking tour throughout the country. His Randell Cottage book project focusses on developing a fictional narrative based on the story of an autistic friend’s journeys and research in the Pacific.