October 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day, a speech disorder that is very disabling for people who have it.

Journalist and writer Sorj Chalandon tells about his own experience on Europe 1.

He devoted a novel to it, "Le petit Bonzi", released in 2005. 


More than 70 million people live with this disorder.

October 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day.

This speech disorder affecting its flow can sometimes cause mockery or indifference, but it is a real handicap.

Sorj Chalandon, journalist at

Canard Enchaîné

and writer, winner of the Albert-Londres prize, the Medici prize or the Goncourt prize for high school students, told in his first novel

Le petit Bonzi,

his experience of stuttering.

"It's absolute loneliness," he says on Europe 1. 

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"The problem with stuttering is that it's the only handicap that makes you laugh," he says, referring to difficulties in class or in the playground to communicate with his classmates.

Herbal decoctions to cure stuttering

In the 1950s, when Sorj Chalandon was a child, he did not know of the existence of speech therapists, specialized in supporting people who stutter.

He then decides to invent his own remedies.

"I tell myself that if there is herb to cure back pain, I'm sure there is an herb somewhere in Lyon, France or the world that can cure stuttering. I did start eating herbs, tree leaves, etc. And I made myself a decoction of herbs to see if, by chance, the next day the stuttering had disappeared. "


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One morning, he realizes that he is speaking fluently.

A psychological experience he recounts on Europe 1. "I realize that the people around me, my mother, my brother, haven't noticed anything. I don't feel that I stutter anymore and I think it's there. 'grass that is at the bottom of the building that did that. And I say it, "says the writer.

"And everyone laughed at me so violently, saying it was impossible, that I went back to stuttering immediately."

"I discovered a community of pain"

Sorj Chalandon now manages to better control his handicap, although it is not "cured", he himself assures.

In his career, the writing of his novel was saving.

"I did not want to write novels, I wanted to write one. I wanted to write what is the violence of being stutterer and especially to write this novel from the inside, from the moment of the making of words", explains- he does.

"This book helped me. It didn't heal me at all, but it did help me." 


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Overnight, the author receives calls from people, stutterers or not, touched by his story.

Some even want to create petitions so that stutterers pay less for the phone, taking longer to communicate.

"I discovered a community of pain," recalls Sorj Charandon.

"And what was fundamental for me was first of all to fall in love with people who did not try to finish my words, who did not try to replace words with others and people who all said to me 'Take your time, I have time'. "