Author Dany Laferrière has become the first Quebecer and the first Haitian to be elected to the prestigious Académie française as an immortal.

Laferrière joins the ranks of such literary legends as Victor Hugo and Eugene Ionesco in receiving what is considered the highest honour in the French language.

The goals of the Académie française are to maintain the purity of the French language and promote eloquence in the arts and sciences. Its 40 members are elected for life.

Born in Haiti in April 1953, Laferrière came to Canada in 1976.

He published his first novel, Comment faire l'amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer, in 1985. It was translated in 1987 into an English version — How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired.

He won a Governor General's Literary Award in 2006 for his first children's novel, Je suis fou de Vava.

Laferrière has also written a number of novels and essays and he won the Prix Médicis in 2009 for L'énigme du retour.

He was elected to the Académie française in the first round and will assume its second chair.