Quebec novelist, playwright and poet Marie-Claire Blais dies at 82

The author of Une saison dans la vie d’Emmanuel received a galaxy of literary awards and honors.

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Quebec novelist and poet Marie-Claire Blais died at the age of 82. The Goodwin Agency, which represented her, announced her death on social media.

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“It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Marie-Claire Blais today, November 30, in Key West, where she had lived for many years. Our hearts go out to his family, numerous friends, colleagues and fans here and abroad, ”the agency said in its Facebook page.

Born in October 1939 in Quebec City, Blais was 20 years old when her first novel, La Belle Bête, was published. That job saw her receive a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation at the suggestion of celebrated American critic Edmund Wilson.

Blais’s best-known novel, Une saison dans la vie d’Emmanuel, was written in the United States with Wilson’s help and published in 1965.

The novel was translated into a dozen languages ​​and became one of the most widely read works produced by a Quebec author. More than 2,000 books, theses, articles, reviews and interviews were generated by Une saison dans la vie d’Emmanuel and the multiple critical interpretations of the work are a tribute to its complexity.

Offering his condolences, Quebec Prime Minister François Legault said that Une saison dans la vie d’Emmanuel was one of the first books he read.

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Born into a family of modest resources, Marie-Claire Blais studied at the Université Laval while working for a living. It was at the Université Laval that he met two people who would influence his life: Jeanne Lapointe, literary critic and mentor to numerous Québec writers, and Georges-Henri Lévesque from the École des sciences sociales de l’Université Laval. Thanks to their support, Blais was able to complete La Belle Bête in 1959.

In addition to producing more than 20 novels in France and Quebec, all translated into English, Blais also wrote six plays and composed collections of poetry. He received a galaxy of literary awards and honors throughout his career.

His works include Manuscrits of Pauline Archange (1968); The deaf in the city (1980); Visions of Anna (1982); Pierre (1986); The Angel of Solitude (1989) and A Garden in the Storm (1990).

Blais avoided the limelight, splitting his time between Key West in Florida, Melbourne in Eastern Townships and Montreal. She was for many years the companion of American artist Mary Meigs, who died in 2002.

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