About

@ Jan Zappner

I’m Prune, a (very) independent journalist and author.

Born in France in 1981, I graduated with a Master Degree in International Public Law and Political Sciences. Since 2008, I am based in Berlin after a few stops in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Salamanca, Sevilla, Budapest, Brussels, Nicosia or Paris.

I write about women, post-conflict societies and rise of extremisms. My favourite playground is (enlarged) Europe and post-sovietic world. I love – and mostly – do reportages. Among others, I got « embedded » with the Pussy Riot, witnessing a special ‘anti-Poutine’ action in the outskirts of Moskow. I related the sufferings of raped Bosnian women during Balkan’s bloodiest conflict. I went back up the tracks of organs trafficking’s scandal in Kosovo and met with former UCK soldiers, missing persons families, judges, EU’s diplomats, secret agents, international prosecutor Carla del Ponte (my idol) or Kosovo’s Prime minister Albin Kurti. I covered the re-militarization of Kaliningrad and attended Minsk’s first Fashion Week. I dived into the Baltic Sea to discover one of the most explosive ecological disaster of our time: tausend of tons of chemical and conventional munitions sunken underwater after World War II and polluting the whole region. I investigated crypto-currency scam in Switzerland, boom of surrogacy business in Ukraine, islamic fashion in Turkey, abortion in Poland and « social egg freezing » revolution.

I have been arrested by Russian police, threatened by Belarussian agents, expelled from Tunisia before the Arab Spring, prosecuted by the Schufa, a German company, and hacked. More recently, I researched the refugee’s crisis, the rise of anti-semitism and Germany’s tolerance to the far-right, immersing myself in a neo-nazi group, ‘Der Dritte Weg’.

My stories have appeared in Médiapart, l’Obs, M, le Magazine du Monde, The Guardian, Grazia, GEO, Vice…My work has been awarded the Prix Louise Weiss, the Prix Philippe Chaffanjon and shortlisted for the European Press Prize. As a freelance journalist in a collapsing media industry, this encouragement helped me (like a lot) to carry on in-depth stories and to explore new narrative forms. I also work regularly as an author for the TV program Karambolage (ARTE) and the reporting magazine ‘Nous les Européens‘ (France Télévisions).

Eager for more freedom and exasperated by the era of fake news, I sometimes escape into literature. La fille & le moudjahidine (Editions Carnets Nord, 2015, Paris), describes my friendship with a young man, a refugee from Daghestan turned champion of mixed martial arts, living in Germany and flirting with the djihad. L’Heure d’été (Editions Anne Carrière, 2019, rééd. Points, 2020, Paris) depicts the transformations of a buzzing capital, Berlin, between gentryfication and precarity. This novel, selected for the Prix Goncourt du premier roman, pinpoints the hopes and desillusions of the Millenials generation and chronicles a troubled Europe, on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I do believe that being a woman writer is an incredible asset, be it to explore or to tell about the world. That doesnt mean there aren’t gender-based inequalities that shouldn’t be tackled in the newsroom (and basically everywhere): low pay, lack of women in leading positions, need for a fair and balanced representation, violences IRL or online…That’s why I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Sisters of Europe, a platform documenting women’s condition in the post #MeToo era : a serie of interviews with 27 women in 27 countries and a cycle of debates in Europeaan capitals. Both archive and non-profit, the initiative was laureate of the 2021 Innovation Award of the European Press Prize.

Website: Johan Giraud 😇