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Quebec Book News

This is the place to come for the latest news on Quebec literature in English, with links to new book reviews, articles, and more.

The 8 novels longlisted for the Prix littéraire France-Québec 2019 are… Les écrivements by Matthieu Simard (Éditions Alto), Jelly Bean by Virginie Francoeur (Éditions Druide), Mykonos by Olga Duhamel-Noyer (Editions L’héliotrope), L’enfer by Sylvie Drapeau (Leméac éditeur), Le dernier chalet by Yvon Rivard (Leméac éditeur), La route du lilas by Eric Dupont (Les Éditions Marchand de feuilles), La Scouine by Gabriel Marcoux-Chabot (La Peuplade), and L’étrange odeur du safran by Miléna Babin (Éditions XYZ). Congratulations to everyone!







And we have our fingers crossed for Songs for the Cold of Heart, Peter McCambridge’s translation of La Fiancée américaine (Eric Dupont, Marchand de feuilles) for QC Fiction – a finalist for this year’s Giller Prize.


Congratulations to Howard Scott and Phyllis Aronoff for their translation of Descent into Night with Mawenzi House, winner of this year’s Governor General’s Award for Translation.
“The translators agilely follow the text as it shifts between an ailing Quebec writer’s regrets about his life, and his long-ago involvement in a failed West African revolution, which haunts him into the present. This translation skillfully captures the lyricism of the French text.”
Our review here.

“Translations offer a window into new perspectives and styles, and a chance to discover literary traditions and innovations often not otherwise easily accessible. In fact, the Governor General’s Awards have a category for Translation, acknowledging the value of bringing French-language works to new readers in English when they would not ordinarily have the chance to read them. Each year, this award recognizes the translation of a work into English for its literary excellence and cultural contribution. The 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation was awarded to Readopolis, translated into English by Oana Avasilichioaei and published by BookThug in Toronto. It is a translation of Lectodôme by Bertrand Laverdure, published by Le Quartanier, a francophone publishing house in Montreal. The Peer Assessment Committee had high praise for Avasilichioaei: “In Readopolis, Oana Avasilichioaei has risen to and matched the stylistic acrobatics of Bertrand Laverdure’s Lectodôme. The many voices of Québécois writing sing through in this intelligent translation – a vertiginous ode to the pure, if rarely rewarded, pursuit of literature.”

David Clerson’s Brothers, a worthy finalist for the same award in 2017, also offers an excellent introduction to a new publisher’s vision. QC Fiction, an imprint of Baraka Books with a fresh perspective, is a Quebec-based English-language book publisher in Montreal. Recognizing the value of translations, QC Fiction’s goal is to publish contemporary Quebec fiction originally published in French, in English translations for a wider Canadian and international audience. Another QC Fiction title, I Never Talk About It, contains 37 stories and as many translators. As Fiction editor Peter McCambridge states, “37 different translators to translate each of the short stories published in a collection by Véronique Côté and Steve Gagnon. It’s a reminder that there are at least 37 different ways to translate an author’s voice—something to consider the next time you pick up a book in translation!”

Found in translation: discovering Canadian literary translations

Well done to Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins (Coach House Books), for making the Best Translated Book Award shortlist. We review the book in the original French here. Suzanne is not the first book from Quebec to make the list. Arvida was a 2016 Best Translated Book Award finalist.

Congratulations to the finalists for this year’s Prix des libraires du Québec.

La bête creuse, Christophe Bernard (Le Quartanier)
De bois debout, Jean-François Caron (La Peuplade)
Le jeu de la musique, Stéfanie Clermont (Le Quartanier)
Le palais de la fatigue, Michael Delisle (Boréal)
Noms fictifs, Olivier Sylvestre (Hamac)

None of these books have been reviewed on Québec Reads (yet), although we have featured an excerpt from Noms fictifs.




Congratulations to Christian Guay-Poliquin and La Peuplade on this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for French Fiction for Le poids de la neige.

“In Le poids de la neige, a decidedly Nordic novel, the ubiquitous snow swallows up the country and the people. Against an apocalyptic background, the tension is unrelenting. Minor and major fears are exacerbated, like the dread of betrayal. The poetry in Christian Guay-Poliquin’s writing keeps us spellbound to the end of winter.”


Congratulations to Oana Avasilichioaei and BookThug for winning this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation for their translation of Lectôdome by Bertrand Laverdure#GGbooks

“In Readopolis, Oana Avasilichioaei has risen to and matched the stylistic acrobatics of Bertrand Laverdure’s Lectodôme. The many voices of Québécois writing sing through in this intelligent translation – a vertiginous ode to the pure, if rarely rewarded, pursuit of literature.”


Congratulations to Le Quartanier and Stéphane Larue (Le plongeur) and Alto and Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven) for their Prix des libraires 2017 success. Looking forward to Pablo Strauss’s translation of Le Plongeur for Biblioasis.










Congratulations to Martine Desjardins and Alto on La chambre verte winning this year’s Prix Jacques-Brossard for science fiction and fantasy writing in Québec.
You can read our review here and look forward to the upcoming translation from Talonbooks.

Nous étions le sel de la mer by Roxanne Bouchard (VLB éditeur) is to be published in the UK in translation by Orenda Books in 2018. You can read our extract in translation from David Warriner here.

The Party Wall (our review here) has been shortlisted for the 2017 French-American Foundation’s Translation Prize.

Excited to hear that Zora, which we reviewed here, will be published in translation (Fred A. Reed, David Homel) by Talonbooks.

Photo credit: Lionel Michée

The finalists for the 2017 Prix des libraires du Québec have just been announced.

5 novels are in the running:

Autour d’elle by Sophie Bienvenu (Le Cheval d’août éditeur)
Le poids de la neige by Christian Guay-Poliquin (La Peuplade)
Le plongeur by Stéphane Larue (Le Quartanier Éditeur)
Étincelle by Michèle Plomer (Les Éditions Marchand de feuilles)
Ukraine à fragmentation by Frédérick Lavoie (La Peuplade)

There is also an outside-Quebec and a poetry category. Congratulations to all concerned!

Prix des libraires 2017

Kubrick Red in the The Globe and Mail
By Simon Roy, translated by Jacob Homel
Anvil Press
“Just as Kubrick used Stephen King’s novel to talk about the horrors of genocide revisited on the present, in Kubrick Red Roy analyses the film to exorcise a crime in his family’s past. An atypical memoir tracing genealogies of violence – as startling as the film that inspired it.”



Carly Rosalie Vandergriendt is a Montreal-based writer. Her story “Playing the Man” is published in Plenitude magazine.

“Below, leaves rustle and swish. The sound reminds me of an ocean, makes me crave a body of water that’s not a city pool packed with bobbing children. It takes looking at a map to realize Montréal is an island. Pinning my phone to my shoulder, I grip the railing of our second-floor balcony, lean over, and look down. She’s in her garden. Our Lady of the Tomatoes.”


Author Cora Siré will be launching her latest novel BEHOLD THINGS BEAUTIFUL at the Atwater Library (1200 Atwater Avenue).

SPECIAL GUEST: Cellist Jane Chan.

Refreshments will be served.
Admission is free.


After twelve years in exile, living and teaching in the safety of Montreal, Alma Alvarez has been persuaded to return to Luscano by her old friend Flaco, who has invited her give a lecture at his university on the tragic Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini, a writer with a cult-like following known for her erotic poetry and film noir demise.

Having been arrested herself after the publication of a poem which offended the military regime, Alma knows how influential and dangerous poetry can be. But her mother is dying, and her return to Luscano feels inevitable. She soon discovers that life in Luscano is still rife with secrecy and duplicity. And Flaco turns out to have a hidden agenda as well. As Alma attempts to readapt to a country that, despite its seductive charms, may not have broke free of its brutal past, she catches sight of the man whose actions prompted her exile and begins to follow him in secret.

The imaginary country of Luscano, an amalgam of Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, is vibrantly brought to life with a nod to the region’s literary tradition of magic realism.


Cora Siré writes poetry, essays and fiction. Her poems have appeared in Descant, the Literary Review of Canada, The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2009 (Tightrope Books) and Sus huellas son letras (Éditions Alondras, 2011). Born in Canada, she often writes of elsewheres, both real and imaginary, drawing on her encounters in realms ranging from Argentina to Vietnam and her family’s history of displacement. She lives in Montréal.


We’re looking forward to the latest translation from Véhicule Press!


Heather O’Neill is at the Height of Her Literary Powers.
Does The Lonely Hearts Hotel mark the beginning of her second act?