Antonine MAILLET

Antonine MAILLET

1991 Cultural Cultural

The reputation of the creator of La Sagouine has extended well beyond our borders, carrying the spirit and synthesis of Acadia to the international cultural scene. Her many works, imbued with Atlantic heritage, have created personalities whose authenticity and lilting language are part of the rich uniqueness of her people. Flowing with these cultural currents, Antonine Maillet knows how to faithfully reproduce the impressions which shaped her own life. Her writing talent, enhanced by a university education, has transformed an oral tradition into works of literature and created literary works which reflect the spoken language which is so characteristic of her people.

Prior to dedicating herself exclusively to literature and before winning the Prix Goncourt in 1979 with the publication of her novel Pélagie-la-Charrette (translated in Slovak, Bulgarian and Romanian languages), Antonine Maillet quietly honed her talents. Her first novel, Pointe-aux-Coques, was published by Fides in 1958, and her second, On a mangé la dune, by Beauchemin in 1962, while she continued her studies and earned her living as a college and university teacher in Moncton, Québec City and Montréal from 1954 to 1975.

A native of Bouctouche in New Brunswick, Antonine Maillet completed her brilliant university studies at the Université de Moncton (Master's in Arts), at the Université de Montréal (Literature), and at the Université Laval (Doctorate in Literature). Winning several Canada Council bursaries, she also studied in Paris in 1963 and 1969. Following her first stay in Paris, she prepared her doctoral thesis on Rabelais while continuing to teach and write.

Steeped in the Acadian traditions of her ancestors, blessed with a vast and colourful imagination and a writing style which is both sharp and spiritual, Antonine Maillet had no choice but to write, to share her gifts and to make her people heard as part of the world's civilizations. A prolific author, Antonine Maillet has published some 30 works: novels, plays and children's stories. She has won many literary prizes in France and Canada. Much of her work has been translated into English. Ms. Maillet's honours are as numerous as they are prestigious: Companion of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Palmes académiques françaises, Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France, Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, member of the Haut Conseil de la francophonie, and Chancellor of the Université de Moncton. Antonine Maillet has received honorary doctorates from a score of universities in Canada, France and the United States.