Boris Vian was one of those interesting people that had the wonderful capacity to be brilliant in more than one field. He was an engineer, musician, poet, journalist, writer, translator, actor, singer and critic. As a musician, he was a trumpet jazz player and he put together his first jazz band when he was 14 years old. He also played a harp guitar for his compositions (click here for a short video). He is the author of the song “The Déserteur ” or “The Deserter” that has been translated in more than 40 languages and was interpreted by Joan Baez during the Vietnam War. But his musical work wasn’t limited only to jazz, he also wrote and interpreted rock and roll, opera and was the author of many music scores for films.
As a writer, Boris Vian signed his works using Vernon Sullivan as a pen name. His works have been also translated into many languages and made into movies and graphic novels. In the engineering field, he designed wonderful bridges that minimized the use of gas.
Sadly, Boris Vian’s life was very short. He died when he was only 39 years old but his work is considered by many as some of the most influential in French arts and culture.
Austin Public Library has some of his works for your enjoyment:
La hierba roja (in Spanish)