Never Stop Running

Original title: Ne t’arrête pas de courir

Author: Palain, Mathieu

Publication Date:

August 2021



Original language and publisher

French | L’Iconoclaste

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction

Never Stop Running

Original title: Ne t’arrête pas de courir

Author: Palain, Mathieu


Champion by day, thug by night. What drives Toumany Coulibaly? That is what Mathieu Palain sets out to uncover. A dazzling confrontation between the author and his subject.

Every Wednesday for two years, two men face each other across a table in prison. One is an inmate, the other a visitor. Both grew up in the same tough neighbourhood south of Paris. They could have been classmates or played together.

One, Mathieu Palain, dreamed of being a footballer but became a journalist and writer. The other, Toumany Coulibaly, was the fifth of eighteen children born to immigrants from Mali. He became an outstanding athlete – who held up pharmacies on the side. A few hours after winning the national 400 m title, he burgled a mobile phone shop.

Champion by day, thug by night: Mathieu Palain set out to understand Coulibaly’s motivations. Over the course of their meetings, the two men became friends, sparking the hope that Coulibaly could turn his life around.

A work of fiction rooted in reality in the style of Emmanuel Carrère’s L’Adversaire and Florence Aubenas’s L’Inconnu de la poste.

Building on the success of Sale Gosse (13,000 copies sold, winner of the Chambéry Prize), Mathieu Palain’s second book confirms his dazzling talent as an ultra-realist writer capturing the gritty truth of contemporary urban France. A novel with wide appeal, striking an authentic, genuine note.

Marketing Information

  • Over 45,000 copies sold
  • Winner: Prix du Roman News 2021, Prix Blù Jean-Marc Roberts 2021, Prix Interallié 2021, Prix France Culture/Télérama of students, Grand Prix des Lectrices Elle 2022
  • Shortlisted for: Prix Renaudot 2021, Prix Les Inrockuptibles 2021
  • Longlisted for: Prix de Flore 2021, Prix des libraires de Nancy – Le Point 2021, Prix du Roman des étudiants France Culture-Télérama 2022, Prix des Deux Magots 2021, Prix du Livre du réel 2022

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