Death: 15th April 1986
Cause of death: Accidental - died as a result of a fall in a hotel room
Location: Spanish Cemetery, Larache, Morocco
Photo taken by: Iain MacFarlaine
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French writer. Genet had a difficult childhood and ended up in a young offenders prison. He joined the Foreign Legion when he was eighteen, but he was given a dishonourable discharge on grounds of indecency (having been caught engaged in a homosexual act). He then across Europe, financing the trip by theft and selling himself - experiences he recounts in The Thief's Journal (1949). He returned to Paris in 1937 and spent time in prison for lewd acts and theft. Whilst in prison he wrote the novel Our Lady of the Flowers (1944). Genet met Jean Cocteau, who was impressed by his writing. Cocteau used his contacts to get Genet's novel published, and in 1949, when Genet was threatened with a life sentence after ten convictions, Cocteau and other prominent figures, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso, successfully petitioned the French President to have the sentence set aside. Genet would never return to prison. By the end of 1949 he had produced five novels, three plays and countless works of poetry. His writing was banned in the United States due to his portrayal of homosexuality. During the 60’s he was involved in political activism and drew attention to the treatment of immigrants in France.