François Cavanna is a French author and satirical newspaper editor. He contributed to the creation and success of Hara-Kiri and Charlie Hebdo. He has written in a variety of genres including reportage, satire, essays, novels, autobiography and humor.
Although raised in France, he grew up surrounded by Italian immigrants due to his father's being from Italy. He treated this life in his book Les Ritals. At the age of 16, he took up various part-time jobs. He delivered letters for the postal service, sold fruits and vegetables, and was a mason's apprentice. His journalistic debut came in 1945 when he began to work for the daily Libération.
In November 1969, Hara-Kiri was banned by the authorities for being pornographic. Cavanna came up with the expedient of renaming the magazine for the next weeks' issue, and thus, Charlie Hebdo was born.
Later, he turned to autobiographical writing. Les Ritals, mentioned above, dealt with his childhood, while Russkofs treated his experience in World War II and was the novel for which he won the Prix Interallié in 1979.