Will Gérard Depardieu become Belgian or Russian? Vladimir Putin signed the citizen grant yesterday. The actor said he would turn over his French passport and social security card if he had to pay 75% of his incomes over 1m euros in tax. Please note: the bill says ‘75% of incomes over 1m euros,’ not ‘75% of incomes’ as even serious newspapers sometimes write. Which means the mega-rich will still be super-rich after paying the new tax, thank you very much. David Cameron was one of the first to be ironic about it, when he talked about rolling out the red carpet for wealthy French people – to which Michel Sapin, the French Employment minister, replied that he’d be curious to see what it is like to roll out a carpet over the sea. But forget about Depardieu, Putin, and all the squabbling between European conservatives and social democrats (the latter are always right, aren’t they?) Here are famous authors who changed countries and sometimes languages and nationalities. Please continue the list!
Henry James: became a British citizen and lost his American citizenship in 1915 in protest against the United States’ reluctance to join the war. Follow this link to read the 1915 report from the Guardian's archive.
Joseph Conrad: born a Russian citizen. Excerpt from Wikipedia article: ‘On 2 July 1886 he applied for British nationality, which was granted on 19 August 1886. However, having become a subject of Queen Victoria, Conrad had not ceased to be a subject of Tsar Alexander III. To achieve the latter, he had to make many visits to the Russian Embassy in London and politely reiterate his request. He would later recall the Embassy's home at Belgrave Square in his novel The Secret Agent. Finally, on 2 April 1889, the Russian Ministry of Home Affairs released "the son of a Polish man of letters, captain of the British merchant marine" from the status of Russian subject.'
Vladimir Nabokov: born Russian. His first nine novels were in Russian. His family left Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. Became a US citizen in 1945.
Milan Kundera: left his native Czech Republic, then under Communist rule, in 1975. Settled in France and became a French citizen in 1981.
Maurice G. Dantec: France’s world famous (and politically controversial) sci-fi writer has been living in Quebec since 1998 and became a Canadian citizen.
Marie NDiaye: in 2009 the celebrated author of Three Strong Women (Trois Femmes Puissantes) explained that she had left France for Berlin with her partner and their children in 2007 largely because of Nicolas Sarkozy’s election.
Jonathan Littell: the first American to be awarded the Prix Goncourt was granted French citizenship in 2007.