Antonine Maillet: The bilingual mice, a fable
"I have avenged my ancestors," said author Antonine Maillet in 1979 with the publication of her book Pélagie-la-Charrette. Maillet broke new ground and became the voice of disenfranchised Acadians. She would tell the sad tale of the Acadian expulsion in the 18th century. She would also write about mothers, a washerwoman named la Sagouine, bootleggers, fishermen, dreamers — struggling to exist alongside the English majority. CBC Archives explores the career of Acadian author Antonine Maillet.
Antonine Maillet tells this fable and discusses the joys of being a francophone in this CBC Radio interview.
• "This country has a special mix of old and new. The two founding cultures came here at the height of their power: France settled in the 17th century, when it was a world leader; England put down roots in the 18th century, during its most powerful period. We were colonized by two great moments of history. In Canada, we have taken those Latin and Celtic elements and given them a northern visage, a new breath of life. The result is a very special culture." - Antonine Maillet in Macleans, Jan. 3, 1994.
• After completing her doctoral studies at the Université de Montreal, Maillet maintained two homes - one in Montreal, the other in New Brunswick.
• In this CBC Radio clip, Maillet gives a passionate convocation speech at the University of New Brunswick. Maillet describes her pride in New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province. She says the harmony between the French and English in her province is an example to the rest of the country. "Love is not to stare at each other, to look each other in the eyes," she says, "No, love is to look together at the same star."
• Maillet lives in Montreal, on a street named in her honour. The street was named Antonine Maillet Street in 1979 after the author won the Prix Goncourt. In this CBC Radio interview, Maillet recalled how this caused considerable confusion with her perplexed mail carrier who delivered the entire street's mail to her house. In another incident, she called 911 when a fire broke out in her kitchen. "I told them my address and where the fire was," she told the Montreal Gazette. "They asked my name, so I told them. They said it's impossible. What was my name? I told them again. They argued some more. Finally, I sad, 'What difference does it make? We'll settle it later. The fire is spreading!" - Montreal Gazette, Nov 19, 1995.
• As of 2005, Maillet remains unmarried.
• Over the course of her career, Maillet has published more than 40 novels, plays and translations.
Program: C'est la vie
Broadcast Date: March 20, 1998
Guest(s): Antonine Maillet
Host: Bernard St. Laurent
Photo: Photo courtesy of Communications New Brunswick
Last updated: June 11, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Is it "moi" or "moâ" in Acadian French? Maillet explains the finer poi...
Maillet discusses the differences in Canada's francophone community.
Maillet discusses how the Prix Goncourt will finally bring Acadian rec...
Antonine Maillet is a celebrity in Europe. Why is she a virtual unkno...
Maillet reads from her acclaimed novel.
Antonine Maillet discusses the long journey from the United States to ...
Antonine Maillet discusses her prize-winning novel and Acadian resilie...
A Montreal street is named in Maillet's honour.
At age three, author-to-be Antonine Maillet wanders her neighbourhood ...
At the University of New Brunswick, in a passionate speech during her ...
Maillet tells a tale about the bonuses of bilingualism.
"I have avenged my ancestors," said author Antonine Maillet in 1979 wi...