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France’s newly elected President Emmanuel Macron has appointed Belgian-born publisher Françoise Nyssen, 66, as France’s new Minister of Culture. She replaces the previous incumbent Audrey Azoulay. Despite being a well-known publisher among the intellectual elite in Paris, the appointment came as a surprise to the majority of French.

Born at Etterbeek in Brussels-Capital Region and a naturalised French citizen, Françoise Nyssen has been serving as the CEO of renowned French publishing house ‘Éditions Actes Sud’ for 40 years. With a life-time of experience in the publishing industry, the new Minister of Culture has an inside understanding of the French intellectual and cultural milieu, not only through her strong relations with a host of elite French authors, but also through establishing in 2014 – along with her husband – a school Domaine du possible, which incorporates new teaching methods.