Marie-Claire Blais

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Marie-Claire Blais
Marie-Claire Blais 2010.jpg
Marie-Claire Blais at the 2010 Montréal Book Fair
Born (1939-10-05) 5 October 1939 (age 77)
Quebec City
Occupation Author, playwright
Nationality Canadian

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


Born in Quebec City, she was educated at a convent school, and at Université Laval, where she met Jeanne Lapointe and Father Georges Lévesque, who encouraged her to write, causing her to publish her first novel La Belle Bête (trans. Mad Shadows) in 1959 when she turned 20. She has since written over 20 novels, several plays, collections of poetry and fiction, as well newspaper articles. Her works have been translated into numerous languages, including English and Chinese. With the support of the eminent American critic Edmund Wilson, Blais won two Guggenheim Fellowships.

In 1963, Blais moved to the United States, initially living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There she met her partner, American artist Mary Meigs, and she later relocated to Wellfleet on Cape Cod. In 1975, after two years living in Brittany, she moved back to Quebec with her partner. For about twenty years she divided her time between Montreal, the Eastern Townships of Quebec and Key West, Florida.


Much of Blais' writing has been in the form of social commentary, with intermixed elements of good and evil in settings part real, and part fantasy. Her works lean toward the tragic, within a hostile society of vice and violence. The strength of Blais' writing ability is rewarding to the reader in spite of the darker aspects of her themes.


In 1972 she became a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Her works La Belle Bête (1959), Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (1965) and Le Sourd dans la ville (1979), have been adapted for the cinema.

Canadian film director Karim Hussain adapted La Belle Bête in 2006. He won the Director's Award at the Boston Underground Film Festival's for the film.[1]


  • 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



  1. ^ "Karim Hussain (i) - awards". Retrieved 28 December 2011. 

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