5, 2000, Gazette)
honour is ours
Johanne Mercier 2000
The Senate has announced
that Memorial will confer an honorary doctorate on Acadian novelist
and playwright Antonine Maillet at the fall convocation on Oct.
Since the publication of her first novel in 1958, Dr. Maillet
has become a prolific and critically-acclaimed writer, publishing
more than a dozen novels and as many plays, a number of which
have been translated into English. In the 1970s, she taught folklore
and literature at Laval and Montreal universities and later taught
at American universities.
Born in the Acadian community of Bouctouche, New Brunswick, Dr.
Maillet studied at the Université de Moncton, completing
a BA and later an MA with a thesis on Gabrielle Roy. She continued
her studies at the Université Laval, earning a PhD in
literature in 1970. Her dissertation, Rabelais et les traditions
populaires en Acadie, catalogued over 500 archaic phrases
and figures of speech from 16th century French that are still
used in the Acadian communities of Canadas Eastern provinces.
In much of her writing, Dr. Maillet recounts the stories of the
Acadian people in their own unique dialect. Her 1971 play La
Sagouine, comprised of a series of dramatic monologues by
an old Acadian washerwoman, introduced Acadian culture and language
to a wide audience. The play was performed in both French and
English throughout North America and Europe and the written text
sold more than 100,000 copies.
Her next published work, Don LOrignal (1972) also
received an enthusiastic response from readers and critics, winning
Dr. Maillet the 1972 Governor Generals Award for Fiction
(French). She continued to write novels and plays throughout
the 1970s, 80s and 90s, publishing her most recent
novel Chronique dune sorcière de vent in
Dr. Maillet has received many honours, including the Prix Goncourt
(1979), Grand Prix littéraire de la ville de Montréal
(1973), Le Prix Québec-Paris (1975), and more than 25
honorary doctorates. She has been named a Companion of the Order
of Canada (1976), an Officier des Arts et des Lettres de France
(1985), an Officer of the Ordre National du Québec (1990),
and is a member of the Queens Privy Council for Canada.