Date of birth: May 10, 1929
Place of birth : Buctouche, New Brunswick
Novelist and playwright
Antonine Maillet is a novelist and playwright of great talent. She was educated in Buctouche, Memramcook, Moncton, Montreal and Quebec City. In 1962, she completed a Licentiate in Literature at the Université de Montréal. A recipient of a Canada Council grant, she stayed in Paris from 1962 to 1964 and from 1969 to 1970. She earned a Doctorat ès lettres from the Université Laval in 1970. She has had a number of Callings, including being a teacher of literature at various colleges and universities and a scriptwriter and broadcaster for Radio-Canada in Moncton.
Her first novel was written in 1958. Since then, she has published some thirty works. She has won numerous literary prizes, including the Prix Champlain for Pointe-aux-Coques (1958), the Governor General's Award for Don L'Orignal (1972), the Prix Québec-Paris and the Prix des Volcans (France) in 1975 for Mariaagelas. Finally, she is the first francophone writer not living in France to be awarded the prestigious Prix Goncourt for Pélagie-la-Charrette, in 1979. This work has been translated into English, Slovakian and Bulgarian. Mrs. Maillet also holds a number of honorary doctorates in literature and in law and is a member of a number of associations and organizations, including the Académie canadienne-francaise, the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique, the Haut-Conseil de la francophonie and the Union des écrivains et écrivaines du Québec.
Her work draws its inspiration from the history, language, folklore, traditions and geographical characteristics of her region, Acadia. Her writings present a number of imaginary people living in a world highly reminiscent of Buctouche, her native village. Her fiery commitment to Acadia and her people has greatly contributed to their development in recent decades. As she stated, loud and clear, at the first Acadian World Congress on October 7, 1985, "Acadia needs to say what it is, that it belongs to the world Francophonie and, accordingly, it has a place in the world, and this place is unique, like that of every people in this world."
Today, Antonine Maillet is Chancellor of the Université de Moncton and continues to promote the French language in Canada and in the world. At the 8th Francophone Summit, held in Moncton in 1999, she awarded French President Jacques Chirac an honorary doctorate in political science. In addition, she is a member of the board of directors of the Baxter and Alma Ricard Foundation together with the Desmarais family and Roméo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada from 1995 to 1999.