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Anglophone playwright born David Wiper in Montreal, Quebec, 1947. He was raised in the working class district of Pointe-St-Charles, an area he would make the centre of most of his plays. He was one of six children, his father was a housepainter. His pen name, given to him by a girlfriend, was part of a Bob Dylan song, “Pretty Peggy-O.” David Fennario has described his life as: Born on the Avenues in the Verdun-Pointe Saint Charles working-class district of Montreal; one of six kids growing up in Duplessis’ Quebec, repressed, depressed, oppressed and compressed. “School was a drag. My working experience turned me into a raving Red calling for world revolution. The process of becoming a political activist gave me the confidence to be a writer. Up to then, I thought only middle-class people could become artists, because they were not stupid like working-class people, who were working-class because they were stupid. But reading Socialist literature convinced me that working-class people can change themselves and the world around them. We are not chained to fate, Freud, God, gender or a genetic code. We can make ourselves into what we want. I’ve been trying my best to do that ever since, and have had some success as a playwright and a prose writer.”
BOOK AWARDSOn the Job
Chalmers Award Winner for Best Canadian Play, 1976.
BOOK AWARDSJoe Beef
The United Steel Worker’s Union Pauline Julien Prize Winner 1987
BOOK AWARDSDoctor Thomas Neill Cream
Arthur Ellis Award Nominee, 1994.
Winner of the 1980 Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award”
QUOTES OF NOTEBolsheviki
“Bolsheviki is vintage Fennario, gritty, authentic, touching, replete with one- liners, never boring … making its radical-pacifist point while paying due respect to veterans.”
“Tying Bolsheviki all together is Fennario’s determined de-glorification of war and old-soldier nostalgia. He’s still an unrepentant, hard-charging leftie. A socialist, pro-worker, anti-war activist who, though now confined to a wheelchair, has lost none of his dramatic edge, as pissed off … as when he wrote On the Job forty years ago.”
“While Canadian theatre has certainly portrayed the nation at war before, Bolsheviki’s perspective on the First World War, especially its often mutinous, revolutionary final days, is unique, even among the history books.” —Robyn Fadden, hour.ca”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Death of René Lévesque
When a final analysis is made of 20th-century Canadian theatre, the most significant political playwright will undoubtly be David Fennario.
QUOTES OF NOTEDoctor Thomas Neill Cream
Fennario’s in-your-face irreverence [is] ferociously funny.
— U of T Quarterly
QUOTES OF NOTEJoe Beef
An evening of political theatre with both guts and skill is a rare commodity these days.
— Montreal Gazette
QUOTES OF NOTEBalconville
“The bilingual nature of the drama makes it a great play instead of a good one, but the setting itself could be anywhere. Balconville is a work of genius. It’s angry, bitter, cruel and funny. It’s a real vision of this country—and even more rare—it’s a moment when bilingualism has found a voice.”
— Globe and Mail
QUOTES OF NOTENothing to Lose
Restores one’s faith in theatre as a medium of continuing vitality and relevance.
— Southam News Service
QUOTES OF NOTEOn the Job
Vibrates with the rough and ready energy of a street fight.
— _Quill & Quire
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.