The missing 2019: literature
As in 2018, 2019 was marked by the loss of several big names from the artistic colony. Here are some of those to whom we have said goodbye in recent months, but who will remain alive through their works.
Yves Préfontaine (March 31, 82 years old)
A committed poet, Yves Préfontaine has left behind an abundant body of work. In addition to having been one of the founders of the National Rally for Independence (RIN), he also confused two journals, Le Québec Libre and Situations, in addition to being editor-in-chief of Libertés for two years, in 1961 and 1962. His collection Pays sans parole won him the Jean-Hamelin Prize in 1968, while Parole Held: Poèmes 1954-1985 won him the Prix Québec-Paris in 1990. He also hosted several programs related to the jazz at Radio-Canada.
François Weyergans (May 27, 77 years old)
The Franco-Belgian François Weyergans, member of the French Academy, died in May, leaving behind a widely awarded work. Describing himself as a “message clown”, he is notably the author of La démence du boxeur (Renaudot in 1992), I am a writer (1989) and Trois jours chez ma mère , which allowed him to win the Goncourt in 2005 in front of Michel Houellebecq. We also owe him several feature films, including Un film sur someone (1972).
The Quebec literary community lost a major figure at the beginning of July. The poet, essayist and journalist Jean Royer died at 81 years of age from a long illness. Former journalist of the Sun and long director of the cultural pages of Le Devoir , he was also head of Éditions de l’Hexagone from 1991 to 1998. Member of the organizing committee of the first Night of Poetry in 1970, he is credited with around twenty of poetry collections, as well as essays and anthologies on Quebec poetry. One of his works, The Other Word, was published posthumously this fall.
Toni Morrison (August 5, 88 years old)
The first African-American woman to obtain a Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, Toni Morrison left her readers in mourning in August. In her work, she explored black history and identity in the United States, from L’oeil le plus bleu , her first novel published in 1970. In 1988, she won a Pulitzer with Beloved . In addition to her eleven novels, she has also published several essays, children’s books, short stories and plays. She also pursued a teaching career in literature at Princeton University.