She had those huge, blue eyes. Two tiny yet so deep lakes. When Sophie de Sivry spoke to you, she cast this intense gaze on you, she tilted her head, creating this kind of halo between you and her. And she listened to you, she welcomed the moment, she lived it in the present, she saw you. Sophie de Sivry had been fighting cancer for eighteen months. But she didn't show it. She adorned herself with a long, lively and elegant turban which gave her the appearance of a high priestess. Who would have guessed the ordeal she was going through? She was lively, she was discreet, she was sweet. She died, surrounded by her family, Wednesday, May 31, at the age of 64.
Sophie de Sivry was born on June 16, 1958. A former student of the École Normale Supérieure in letters, she had started in the world of publishing at Flammarion in the service of beautiful books. And then she had decided to throw herself totally into the adventure. As an author (she has published beautiful books The Art of Sleep, The Art and Madness, The Art and Writing, The Art of Childhood) and as an editor. She then launched her own house, L'Iconoclaste, in 1997, with her husband Laurent Beccaria, founder and director of les Arènes editions.
And it was then the incredible editorial success of a couple of enthusiasts. Originally, The Iconoclast was in the business of publishing beautiful books, it was one of the houses of the Arena constellation. And then little by little, she had imposed her mark, by publishing essays, stories, poetry, history, novels. A single glance at a bookstore reveals these books, all recognizable by their colorful covers. We think of My Queen, Femina prize for high school students (2017), by Jean-Baptiste Andréa, La Vraie vie, Fnac novel prize (2018), by Adeline Dieudonné, Le Temps de s'en ceperir, Deux Magots prize ( 2019), by Emmanuel de Waresquiel, Don't Stop Running, Interallié Prize (2021), by Mathieu Palain, but also to Isabelle Spaak, Maud Ventura, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Cécile Coulon and Christian Bobin.
“The Iconoclast, wrote Sophie de Sivry, has set out to put the book at the heart of our lives. To be an Iconoclast today is to choose beauty, meaning, a certain quality of being, in the face of the chaos of the world. It is to afford the luxury of perfection and maturation. It's deciding to edit little but well, bringing the quality of each book to its maximum, leaving nothing to chance: text, layout and launch. It's adapting to each author, to each project like a bespoke tailor by taking side roads.”
Sophie de Sivry was one of those enthusiasts who did not count her hours or the number of pages she read. She lived literature. “Sophie was an editor, a boss, a friend sometimes, wrote Laurent Beccaria, in a press release addressed to the teams of The Iconoclast. She was crazy about her authors, so proud of her team and full of plans for the Iconoclast.”