Romain Gary, born Roman Kacew (also known by the pen name Émile Ajar), was a French novelist, diplomat, film director, and World War II aviator of Jewish origin. He is the only author to have won the Prix Goncourt under two names. Gary became one of France's most popular and prolific writers, authoring more than 30 novels, essays and memoirs, some of which he wrote under a pseudonym. He is the only person to win the Prix Goncourt twice. This prize for French language literature is awarded only once to an author. Gary, who had already received the prize in 1956 for Les racines du ciel, published La vie devant soi under the pseudonym Émile Ajar in 1975. The Académie Goncourt awarded the prize to the author of that book without knowing his identity.
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