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Born in a working-class family in Quebec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal’s Le Plateau neighbourhood. An ardent reader since a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay’s dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. Of his own work, Tremblay has said,I know what I want in the theatre. I want a real political theatre, but I know that political theatre is dull. I write fables.”
Tremblay’s novel The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant was long-listed for the CBC Canada Reads program in both 2002 and 2003. In 2004, he appeared as a guest of honour at the Calgary WordFest. In January and February of 2005, the Manitoba Theatre Centre presented TremblayFest: a two-week extravaganza in which fifteen of Tremblay’s stage plays were performed by sixteen different theatre companies. In April 2006—as Montreal concluded its term as World Book Capital—Tremblay was the recipient of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix, awarded annually in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement to a writer of international stature and accomplishment.
Awards and Recognition*
Prix du Grand (2009) La Traversée de la ville (Leméac Editeur Inc.)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix (2006)
Globe and Mail Top 100 Books (2003) Birth of a Bookworm
Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2000) For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Chalmers Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 2000)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1999)
Molson Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1994)
Louis-Hémon Prize (1994)
Montreal Book Fair Grand Public Prize (1994)
Banff Centre National Award (1992)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1991)
Chevalier of the Order of Quebec (1990)
San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festival Long-Standing Public Service Award (1989)
CBC Anik Prize (1988)
Athanase-David Lifetime Achievement Prize (1988)
Quebec-Paris Prize (1985)
Chevalier of Arts and Letters of France (1984).
May 2013 : Michel Tremblay and Magnetic North!
March 2013 : Sainte-Carmen of the Main Comes to Winnipeg
March 2013 : Les Belles Soeurs in Baltimore!
February 2013 : Albertine in Five Times in Duncan!
November 2012 : Michel Tremblay Receives Medal of Honor
October 2012 : Louise Desjardins and Sheila Fischman Read From So Long
August 2012 : Les Belles Soeurs Revived in Scots Demotic
June 2012 : Michel Tremblay reflects on his career
May 2012 : Enter "The Real World?"
March 2012 : The World of Michel Tremblay!
February 2012 : Les Belles Soeurs in Utah
January 2012 : Meg Tilly Hailed By Critics' Choice Spotlight Awards
July 2011 : Don't Miss Hosanna at the Stratford Festival!
November 2010 : Congrats on the GG, Linda Gaboriau!
October 2010 : Belles-Soeurs!
September 2010 : Translator to the Stars
BOOK AWARDSFor the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Winner of the 2000 Dora Mavor Moore Award General Theatre: Outstanding New Play
BOOK AWARDSImpromptu on Nuns' Island
Finalist for the 2002 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation
BOOK AWARDSBonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies
Finalist for the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation
BOOK AWARDSLa Maison Suspendue
Winner of the 1990 The Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award”
QUOTES OF NOTECrossing the Continent
“The empathy and tenderness that Tremblay has for his characters is evident on every page of the novel Crossing the Continent.” – Le Devoir
“In this brilliantly constructed, coming-of-age novel Nana learns and guesses a lot of things about each of the characters she encounters. By the end of her journey, she is not the same: she is not an adult, she is not a teenager, but she has learned things about life that she had never suspected existed.” – Voir
“In this novel, Tremblay not only gives his fans the background they crave on their beloved Plateau characters, he also sets the groundwork for understanding that the world and the people in it are Janus-like. Good and bad, French and English, country and city, moral and immoral, brave and scared, everything is all rolled up into this thing called life.” – The Globe and Mail”
QUOTES OF NOTEAlbertine in Five Times
“The story of a life, told by Tremblay with immense compassion.”
— Toronto Sun
“A remarkable play …. The conception is brilliant.”
— New Statesman
“Michel Tremblay’s Albertine—a fascinating, conflicted woman who refuses to
take life’s knocks lying down—is one of Quebec theatre’s most celebrated characters.”
— _Jackie Maxwell, Shaw Festival”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Blue Notebook
"Tremblay’s charters don’t merely exist, they live out complex, sprawling lives" — Globe and Mail”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Red Notebook
Tremblay’s characters don’t merely exist, they live out complex, sprawling lives.
— Globe & Mail
QUOTES OF NOTEAssorted Candies for the Theatre
“It’s vintage Tremblay (out-Prousting Proust), filled with primal privations and inspirations of awe, a family’s love and terrors, the stuff that makes a writer a writer: Family. Church. Lust. Poverty. The whole enthralling works.” — Globe and Mail”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Black Notebook
“Michel Tremblay succeeds in building a rich and tangible universe. The Black Notebook possesses a rare intelligence in painting lively portraits of those in struggle, who do not play by established rules and who cannot be defined by absolutes.”
— Le Devoir “The themes dear to Michel Tremblay can be found in this novel: humiliation, marginality, parent-child relationships, the difficulty of being different … ”
— Nuit blanche
“Tremblay’s work has always been marked by his compassion for the underdog—women more often than not—and The Black Notebook continues that tradition … The Black Notebook emerges as a powerful character study, a social history—as always with Tremblay, the political content is there, but always as an organic element of the story—as well as a love letter to the world of the theatre.”
— Montreal Review of Books
“Few will fail to empathize with the demi-heroine featuring in _The Black Notebook_’s pages … Despite the sometimes inescapable seriousness of his material, Tremblay will induce chortles, chuckles and belly laughs in hapless readers, not to mention expanding upon the delight readers will no doubt take in his mastery of caricature. With a stroke here, a telling detail there, he creates characters who linger in the mind to participate in a marvellously mysterious mental dance.
The internationally revered playwright continues to prove his prowess, economically telegraphing the anguish of savaged youth evaporating into an anonymous and opaque past, which can only be rescued by brave new words and lovingly shaping a fictional world that magnifies, clarifies and illuminates our own obdurate existence.”
— Globe and Mail”
QUOTES OF NOTEBonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies
“The best of Tremblay can be found in these Assorted Candies: the unparalleled dialogist, the prodigious portraitist, the attentive memorialist, and above all, the writer who manages to retain the childhood sense of wonder.”
— Voir “Michel Tremblay wrote this book with evident pleasure, a contagious one.”
— La Presse “The idealized memories of childhood told via colourful dialogues mark the charm of … Bonbons Assortis.”
— Canadian Literature
“Linda Gaboriau elegantly transports the English reader into the bustling world of Michel Tremblay’s childhood. She maintains the narrative simplicity and natural dialogue of his stories, as seen and heard from a child’s point of view.”
— 2006 Governor General’s Literary Awards Jury
“As indelibly as Mordecai Richler staked a claim to the Jewish Montreal of Mile End, Tremblay’s novels, plays, and autobiographical writings have made working-class French Montreal an archetypal literary setting … Tremblay’s knack for recalling and accessing his boyhood self is uncanny. Assorted Candies is short but sweet.”
— Montreal Review of Books
“It’s vintage Tremblay (out-Prousting Proust), filled with primal privations and inspirations of awe, a family’s love and terrors, the stuff that makes a writer a writer: Family. Church. Lust. Poverty. The whole enthralling works.”
— Globe and Mail”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Driving Force
The text is as severe, intense and implacable as the reality of each character.
— CBC Radio Canada
QUOTES OF NOTEPast Perfect
The really scary, or beautiful, part is how much Albertine there is in every one of us.
— Globe & Mail
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.