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 track 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 traversed the rubbles and contradictions of former USSR while spending days with gypsies in Moldova or « internally displaced persons » in Georgia, covered the re-militarization of Kaliningrad and attended Minsk’s ever first Fashion Week (undercover, meeting with dissidents). I dived into the Baltic Sea to discover one of the most explosive ecological disaster of our time: millions of tons of chemical and conventional munitions sunken underwater after World War II and polluting nowadays the whole region. I investigated the boom of surrogacy business in Ukraine, the phenomenom of islamic fashion in Turkey, absurd abortion’s law in Poland, IVF gender-selection clinics in Cyprus 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. It didn’t stopped me. More recently, I researched the refugee’s crisis, the rise of anti-semitism and the tolerance to the far-right in Germany, 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… and been awarded two times the Prix Louise Weiss, the Prix Philippe Chaffanjon, shortlisted for the European Press Prize, supported by the EU Journalism Fund or the European Cultural Foundation. 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 both to explore and to tell about the world. That doesnt mean there aren’t issues that shouldn’t be tackled in the media industry: inegalities of pay, lack of women in the leading positions, need for a fair and balanced representation, gender-based violences IRL or online, reconciling being a freelancer and a mother…That is the reason why I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Sisters of Europe, a platform documenting women’s condition in post #MeToo Europe and calling for a more transnational feminism. Both archive and non-profit initiative, the project was laureate of the 2021 Innovation Award of the European Press Prize.

Website: Johan Giraud 😇