Érick Marset or the perseverance of a writer

Érick Marset, Guadeloupean writer

Published in a digital version by ÉpopArt-Créations in February 2017, “Inje, l’Intrépide”, Érick Marset’s second novel, will soon be published on paper. The Guadeloupean writer now is writing the second part of the adventures of the young Pierre Inje which takes place on the island in the 1980s. Érick Marset is also an actor and the current president of “La Compagnie des Mornes Bleus”.

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Begun in 1984, “Inje, l’Intrépide” was published in February 2017 in digital version by the Épopart-Créations platform, based in France. This is the second novel of the Guadeloupean writer, Érick Marset and it’s rather very pleasant to read. The action takes place in 1982 in several towns of Guadeloupe such as Sainte-Anne, Trois-Rivières, Goyave, Pointe-à-Pitre, Les Saintes. The main character Pierre Inje is a normal young man who lives with his parents, he is also a martial arts-lover (a “martial artist” as the author wrote) and will find himself embarked on an implausible and dangerous affair where mingle, among others, drug trafficking, unemployment, money, politics and youth.

“It’s a novel anchored in Guadeloupe but anyone can recognize oneself because these themes are everywhere in the world. In the 1980s, Boissard in Les Abymes was a renowned district for crime. I situated the gang leader’s den in the Grands-Fonds which is a picturesque place, located on several communes of Grande-Terre with its web of small roads to mix the lack of visibility and the lack of honesty. I like very much the martial arts and when I was younger, I read magazines, I went to see films and I attended competitions that were devoted to this sport. You amass memories without knowing it and when you write, you put a part of yourself in the story”, explained Érick Marset.

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Digital, another way to communicate

Another character attracts the attention of the reader, it is Mr. Anselme. He is a seventy-year-old man who lives in perfect communion with nature somewhere in Trois-Rivières and who is a kind of “gadéd zafè” in Creole (clairvoyant). “It’s a modern novel but the West Indian tradition is in the back-ground. He is wise man, a mystic who, as we say here, “will give a plus” to Inje to protect himself; it’s what is called a “montage” in Guadeloupe”, the writer added.

The digital platform ÉpopArt-Créations – founded by a collective of authors, creators and artists including Guadeloupean actor Patrick Cheval published the first volume of the adventures of the young Pierre Inje, Érick Marset is already working on the second volume. “Patrick Cheval is a very close friend, he is a trusted person and he had the opportunity to read some of my short stories. I sent him some episodes (not chapters) of “Inje, L’Intrépide”, a novel whose title changed several times(…) A month later, in late 2016, he told me about the project ÉpopArt-Créations and he said that the platform wanted to publish me and I replied: “Banco!” because digital is an opportunity”, the author said. However, Érick Marset does not intend to abandon the paper because very soon the novel “Inje, l’Intrépide” will be published by a publishing house…

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An artist writer

The author recalled the negative answers that some publishers sent to him and that he kept; he remembered in particular the letter from a publishing house in Guiana: “It was a very curt letter where it made me understand that I had to learn how to write. You may not appreciate an author’s manuscript but there is a way of saying things”, he said. “Often, we do not consider writers as artists, I consider myself an artist, a creator. Why put everyone in the same mould? When I write, it’s a voluntary act, there is a development, a strategy. People tell me that I have a style. I do not consider myself a great writer, maybe the best writers are not published yet, they are unknown”, he added.

It must be said that Érick Marset is not just anybody in literature and the artistic field in general. He get bitten by the writing bug very early. When he was a child, there was not television set in many homes on the island, after dinner his father told Guadeloupean tales such as “Konpè Lapen é Konpè Zanba”, “Ti Sapoti” and other supernatural stories of “Soukounian” , “Ladyablès” etc. “My father also liked to read magazines and comics. This world fed my imagination, it triggered something off in my mind. Later, I also invented stories with often animals that I told my little cousins who were sitting in a circle around me”, the writer said.

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A budding writer

However, during his adolescence Érick Marset was not a brilliant student: “until the 8th grade, I got very bad marks for essay, i.e. between 3 and 5 out of 20. My parents and a cousin who had a higher education asked me to read. I read comic books, science books and even the Bible. In fact, I did not understand the introduction, the development and the conclusion in the essay. But in English, life sciences, history and geography, my marks were a little correct (…)”, he said.

In 1978, after the 8th grade at the Carnot Junior College in Pointe-à-Pitre, he was advised to go to a technical college in Le Moule to learn car mechanics. This is where will occur the revelation: “The French teacher gave us, as first exercise, an essay; I thought that I would not do this kind of exercise in this college. I had read a reading book titled “Du Ciel et d’Azur” which included texts by local writers like Aimé Césaire and Florette Morand, so I made a “mix” with what I had learned from this book and more personal things. Fifteen days later, the teacher gave back the exercises and she commented on my classmates’ marks; everyone had his exercise except me. So I thought that my mark was so bad that she kept it for last. I could not believe my ears when she said: “I read this essay which had a lot of positive things and I did not hesitate to put the mark 17 out of 20″. Then, she encouraged me to write”, Érick Marset told.

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1st prize in French prose

In 1985, the 23-year-old young man did a six-month mechanic training course in Grand-Camp, Les Abymes; he found subjects such as mathematics and French but they are adapted to his professional training. He had the idea of writing a story on one page and showing it to the trainer in charge of French courses. “I wanted to get her opinion, it was the story of a guy who was being chased by another and he found himself in a cul-de-sac… Several days later, she gave me back my paper and also encouraged me to write a novel”, the writer added. However, the young trainee was careful not to tell her that he had already started writing his first novel, Pierre Inje’s story, that he will make up his mind to publish in February 2017…

In 1988, he participated in a short story contest organized by the General Council of Guiana and won a book by the Egyptian novelist of Lebanese origin, Andrée Chédid, entitled “Mondes, Miroirs, Magies”. Then, he suggested his short stories to “France Antilles” which did not publish them but he received a letter of encouragement from the management of the local daily. In 1992, he won the first prize in French prose at the Floral Games in Guadeloupe. “Radio presenter Robert Dieupart and poet Serge de Vipart encouraged me to participate in this literary contest”, he said.

That same year, the “Ozone” magazine created by the Cultural Affairs Mission of the General Council of Guadeloupe agreed to publish his short story titled “La Vieille Usine”. “In this story, I described how I felt when I visited the former Darboussier sugar refinery, where now the Memorial ACTe is located in Pointe-à-Pitre”, he said.

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A first novel, “Un autre Regard”

Until 1993, “Ozone” will publish three more of his stories: “Le Oui pour la Vie”, “Cauchemar” et “Survivance”. From 1996 to 1997, the “Télénight” magazine also published his short stories per episode. “I like the format of the short story, it’s a short moment, a segment of life with a high intensity”, the writer said.

In 2004, Érick Marset published his first book titled “Existence” by Éditions La Société des Écrivains. This is a collection where we found the short story “La Vieille Usine” and other stories on Guadeloupe in the time of Governor Sorin during the Second World War, on the possession of a human being by a demon, on two prisoners in a cell etc. “Robert Dieupart had told me that this was the first time a writer from here had staged two prisoners”, he recalled. In 2005, “Existence” was selected for the “FètKann Literary Prize” of CIFORDOM in the Paris region.

In 2012, Érick Marset published his second book and first novel titled “Un autre Regard” by Éditions Nestor, the preface is by Jean Juraver. The author told the story of a young boy called Bernard who lived in the 1950s-1960s at the time when the sugar cane was transported by locomotives, where the good neighbourliness was sacred, he was curious about his environment and had experiences with spirits especially with his late grandmother…

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Érick Marset, the actor

Érick Marset is also an actor. Indeed, he acted in several plays: “Adèlbè, le séancier” (1986) with Patrick Cheval, Patrick Michineau; “La tortue qui chante” (1988) directed by Patrick Cheval with, among others, Philippe Calodat, Patricia Kancel, Patrick Michineau; “La mort de Ti-Fabrice” (1988) with Patrick d’Alexis, Eddy Arnell…; “An tan Révolisyon” (1989) by Maryse Condé with José Jernidier etc.; “Révolte dans la Mangrove” (1992) by Alberto Rollan and Patricia Kancel which will also be staged at the Festival de Théâtre d’Enfants (Children’s Theater Festival) in Toulouse (France)…

In addition, he performed in soap operas and films such as “Panique aux Caraïbes” by Jean-Claude Charnay et Serge Korber (1989) with Greg Germain, Le Bonheur d’Elsa” by Mariette Monpierre (2011), “Tèt Grenné” (2002) by Christian Grandman and Le Goût des Jeunes Filles” (2004) by John L’Écuyer based on Dany Laferrière’s novel. It will also appear in commercials.

Érick Marset also had the opportunity to discover the radio when, in 1991, he became a presenter on Horizon FM. He will also worked in the world of entertainment for children in day camps and after school centres. Currently, Érick Marset is the president of the cultural association “La Compagnie des Mornes Bleus”.