Marie-Claire Blais

Marie-Claire Blais, CC OQ MSRC (born 5 October 1939) is a French Canadian writer, novelist, poet, and playwright from the province of Quebec.

Marie-Claire Blais
Marie-Claire Blais at the 2010 Montréal Book Fair
Born (1939-10-05) 5 October 1939
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
OccupationAuthor, playwright
NationalityFrench Canadian
EducationUniversité de Montréal (2002–2003), Université de Montréal (1993–1997), Université Laval
GenreRoman , theater , screenplay , poetry , essay
Notable awardsGovernor General's Award for French-language fiction, Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada

Early life and education

Blais was born to a blue collar family in Quebec City. She studied at a convent school, but had to interrupt her education to seek employment. At the age of seventeen, she enrolled in a few classes at Université Laval, where she met Jeanne Lapointe and Father Georges-Henri Lévesque, who encouraged her to write.

She published her first novel La Belle Bête (translated as Mad Shadows) in 1959, when she turned 20.[1] She has since written more than 20 novels, several plays, collections of poetry and fiction, as well newspaper articles. With the support of the American critic Edmund Wilson, she was awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships.

In 1963, she moved to the United States, initially living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then in Wellfleet, where she lived with Barbara Deming and her partner, American artist Mary Meigs. In 1975, after two years of living in Brittany, she moved back to Quebec. For about twenty years she divided her time between Montreal, the Eastern Townships of Quebec and Key West, Florida, where she maintains her permanent home.[2] She has also obtained American citizenship.

In 1972 she became a Companion of the Order of Canada. Three of her books have been adapted for the cinema: Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (Claude Weisz, 1973), La Belle Bête (Karim Hussain, 1976) and Le Sourd dans la ville (Mireille Dansereau, 1987). Hussain won the Director's Award at the Boston Underground Film Festival for his work.

2002-2003: Universite de Montreal. Since 2005, she has sponsored the Prix littéraire Québec-France Marie-Claire-Blais; awarded annually to a French author.

In January, 2018, she published Une réunion près de la mer, the final novel in a ten-volume series called Soifs (Thirsts), which she had been working on since 1995. It involves life in the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and has a complexly interlocked cast of over 200 characters. It is also notable for its experimental nature, which involves the avoidance of paragraphs and chapters, with very long sentences punctuated by commas.


  • La Belle Bête (Mad Shadows) - 1959
  • Tête Blanche (Tête Blanche) - 1960
  • Le Jour est noir - ("The Day is Dark" in The Day is Dark and Three Travellers) 1962
  • Pays voilés ("Veiled Countries" in Veiled Countries/Lives) - 1963
  • Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (A Season in the Life of Emmanuel) - 1965
  • L'insoumise (The Fugitive) - 1966
  • Existences ("Lives" in Veiled Countries/Lives) - 1967
  • Les Manuscrits de Pauline Archange (The Manuscripts of Pauline Archange) - 1968
  • L'exécution (The Execution) - 1968
  • Les Voyageurs sacrés ("Three Travellers" in The Day is Dark and Three Travellers) - 1969
  • Vivre! Vivre! (The Manuscripts of Pauline Archange) - 1969
  • Le Loup (The Wolf) - 1970
  • Un Joualonais, sa Joualonie (St. Lawrence Blues) - 1973
  • Fièvre et autres textes dramatiques - 1974
  • Une Liaison parisienne (A Literary Affair) - 1975
  • Les Apparences (Dürer's Angel) - 1976
  • Océan suivi de murmures - 1977
  • Les Nuits de l'underground (Nights in the Underground) - 1978
  • Le Sourd dans la ville (Deaf to the City) - 1979
  • Visions d'Anna ou Le vertige (Anna's World) - 1982
  • Sommeil d'hiver (Wintersleep) - 1984
  • Pierre, la guerre du printemps (Pierre) - 1984
  • L'Île (The Island) - 1989]
  • L'Ange de la solitude (The Angel of Solitude) - 1989
  • Parcours d'un écrivain: Notes américaines (American Notebooks: A Writer's Journey) - 1993
  • Soifs (These Festive Nights) - 1995
  • (The Exile and the Sacred Travellers) - 2000
  • Dans la foudre et la lumière (Thunder and Light) - 2001
  • Augustino et le chœur de la déstruction (Augustino and the Choir of Destruction) - 2005
  • The Collected Radio Drama of Marie-Claire Blais - 2007
  • Mai au bal des prédateurs - 2010



Weightman,John."Fiction in France" The Observer [Britain]29 January 1960: Review section.Print.

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