Romain Gary, twice winner of the Prix Goncourt, based parts of his early Books on his childhood in Vilnius
One of the most interesting and colourful 20th-century French novelists was to say about Vilnius: “Perhaps it was here that I was born as an artist.”
Romain Gary (his real name was Roman Kacew) was born in the city on 8 May 1914. Later living in Russia with his mother for a while, he returned to Vilnius for a few years (from 1917 to 1924), and spent several crucial years of his childhood and adolescence at 16 Wielka Pohulanka Street (now Basanavičiaus gatvė 18).
After a one-year stay in Warsaw, he at last reached France, the country of his dreams, to begin to turn into what, in his…