Monique Proulx is a French-Canadian writer who has achieved considerable literary recognition, both in Canada and abroad. Her first novel, Sans Coeur et sans reproche, won the Adrienne Choquette literary award, and some of her other novels have won her awards such as the Signet d’Or de Plaisir de Lire, le Prix des Libraires du Québec, the Prix Littéraire Desjardins and the Prix Québec-Paris. She has twice been short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in French, and was also short-listed for the 2004 CBC “Canada Reads” competition.
Proulx was born in Quebec City on January 17th, 1952. She earned a degree in literature and theatre from the Université Laval, and has taught French and theatre. She took time off in 1980 to work on her first novel, and by 1984 she had moved to Montreal. A highlight in Proulx’ career was to be invited by ARALD (Agence Rhône-Alpes pour le livre et la documentation) to visit France in 1995. She attended ARALD meetings and conferences alongside four other writers from Quebec, and her work has become well known in France as a result.
Many of Proulx’ works have been translated into English, and her novel Le Sexe des étoiles (1993) – Sex of the Stars (1996) – was also adapted into a film directed by Paule Baillargeon. The novel and film are a modern depiction of gender and identity issues, and tell the story of Camille, a young girl whose transgendered, and absent, father is now a woman. The novel explores what it is that makes up human and sexual identity, as well as themes of loneliness and the desire for acceptance. Her work Les Aurores montréales (1996) is a compilation of short stories which describe the lifestyle and culture of Montreal. The stories are written from various perspectives, including those of children, couples, immigrants and the homeless, exploring linguistic and social issues in post-referendum Montreal. The collection of stories in Champagne (2008), translated into English as Wildlives (2009), introduces a new theme to her writing. Set in the Laurentian mountains now threatened by development, the interconnected stories form Proulx’ tribute to nature, and explore human relationships with the wild. Her writing style tends to contrast strong emotions of sadness with humour, and to explore boundaries and moments of transition. Her work has been published in over a dozen countries. (J. McKay)