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A Canadian in Suzanne Louverture's footsteps 

Marie and Gabriel researching Suzanne's history

Gabriel Osson, born in Haiti, lives in Toronto, Canada. Gabriel Osson is a man of many passions. A writer, lecturer and painter in his spare time, he is very involved in Toronto's French-speaking community. His writings transport us into the world of fiction, but he knows how to combine it with reality, which makes for very realistic novels.


He has also published collections of short stories and poetry, including "Enfants d'Haïti, je t'aime", in aid of the victims of the January 2010 earthquake. His next novel will feature Suzanne Louverture and her life in Agen, France.

Why this choice?

Just over 5 years ago, Gabriel came to Agen to attend a cousin's wedding. During this brief stay, several people told him the story of a certain Suzanne Louverture who had passed through the Agen region. Suzanne was the wife of the famous General, Toussaint Louverture, who went from being in slave to becoming the liberator of Saint-Domingue. Napoleon-Bonaparte, the consul, was very unhappy to see the colony escape the control of the metropolis, and sent an army of 25,000 men to make him capitulate, which happened in May 1802. In June of that year, he was arrested and deported to France, along with his family, wife and children. Separated from his family, he was confined to Fort de Joux in the Doubs region. He died there on April 7, 1803, without seeing his family again, nor witnessing Haiti's independence in January 1804. His family, Suzanne and the three children, Placide, Issac and Saint-Jean, disembarked at Brest, then transited to Bayonne, where Suzanne received a welcome worthy of a great lady. Against all expectations. Finally, they arrived in Agen, Lot et Garone's region, where they were in house arrest until 1817. It was from this point onwards that Gabriel embarked on a detective-like search for Suzanne's whereabouts. He retraced Suzanne's and her two children's footsteps (Saint-Jean having died very young) from Brest to Bayonne and to Agen where Suzanne died in 1816.

He traced a son (Placide) to Astaffort, and at the same time discovered that many Astaffort people had migrated to Haiti to start various plantations including sugar cane, coffee and cotton. We can understand why Gabriel wanted to turn Suzanne's history  into a historical-fiction novel, full of adventure but charged with truth. To carry out this work, he is supported by Marie Bodin, a young French geographer and film-maker, who has fallen in love with the fabulous island of Haiti, where she has lived for the past ten years. He was also able to draw on the invaluable advice and information provided by the departmental archives of Brest, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Lot-et-Garonne, as well as the knowledge of Jean François Gratierri on the local history of Astaffort and Sylvie Pourcel from Agen, an artist deeply involved in Haitian life. Gabriel is in the process of weaving this web, having retraced the steps of Suzanne and her children, and in the process to return to Toronto to build this beautiful novel.

Gabriel will be back in 2024, for the inauguration of the statue of Toussaint Louverture, initiated by the town of Agen and which will find its place on the Place de la République, and we're going to make him promise to come to Astaffort to give us a talk on the subject, with the help of JF Gratierri, and to present us with this fine novel, once published, enhanced by the documentary film that Marie Bodin has been making during all this research.

Toussaint Louverture 2.jpg
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