Jean Giono (1895–1970) was born and lived most of his life in the town of Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Largely self-educated, he started working as a bank clerk at the age of sixteen and reported for military service when World War I broke out. He fought in the battle of Verdun and was one of the few members of his company to survive. After the war, he returned to his job and family in Manosque and became a vocal, lifelong pacifist. After the success of Hill, which won the Prix Brentano, he left the bank and began to publish prolifically. During World War II Giono’s outspoken pacifism led some to accuse him unjustly of collaboration with the Nazis; after France’s liberation in 1944, he was imprisoned and held without charges. Despite being blacklisted after his release, Giono continued writing and was elected to the Académie Goncourt in 1954.