Happy Birthday Victor

On Monday 26th February we celebrated Victor Hugo’s 222nd birthday. Hugo was born on 26th February 1802 in the town of Besançon in eastern France near the border with Switzerland. He was the youngest son of Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo (1774–1828), a general in the Napoleonic army, and Sophie Trébuchet (1772–1821). Since Hugo's father was an officer in Napoleon's army, the family moved frequently from posting to posting, and so, in fact, little Victor only lived for six weeks in Besançon.

The Victor Hugo Centre celebrated the day with a ‘party’ in the evening at Les Cotils, where seventy-five supporters of the Centre gathered to hear an update on progress since last year’s birthday celebration.


Larry Malcic, the Centre chairman, outlined key achievements:

Ø Generous support of seed funding

Ø Architects, engineers and exhibition designers appointed

Ø Concept design completed

Ø Letter of exclusivity with the States of Guernsey for the building signed

Ø Website live: www.vhc.gg

Ø Social media live: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

Ø Funding consultant report received

Ø Ongoing awareness campaign, presentations and donor meetings


Larry also talked about ‘Why Victor Hugo’? Victor Hugo is the most famous person to have ever lived on Guernsey. He has become part of our island culture. Today he is as world famous as he was when he was alive, and Guernsey played an important, even vital, part in his creative life. Hugo’s work is reinterpreted by each new generation, and his social ideas are as relevant today as in his own time. By creating a Victor Hugo Centre, and with particular focus on creativity and education, Guernsey can be enriched by the artist and campaigner who lived amongst us for fifteen years. Also, as the only bi-lingual Victor Hugo Centre in the world for English and French speakers, it will connect to a global audience.  


At the event Larry made some key announcements:

1. The creation of two content sub-committees to inform the project:

Artistic Sub-Committee:

This committee, consisting of leading Hugo scholars from the UK, France and the USA, including Professor Bradley Stephens from the University of Bristol and Dr Marva Barnett, Professor Emerita at the University of Virginia, will advise on Victor Hugo as a writer, poet, artist and dramatist.

Social Justice Sub-Committee:

Again, made up of leading academics, including Professor Kevin Bales of the University of Nottingham, this committee will advise on Hugo’s work on human rights, freedom of expression, universal education, the rights of women and children and his work on ending capital punishment and slavery.

2. Appointment of Operations Manager

Laura Harrison has been appointed as Operations Manager for the Victor Hugo Centre, thus strengthening the team as it builds momentum.    


The evening ended with the Bailiff, Sir Richard McMahon, cutting the Victor Hugo birthday cake.