Canadian writer Mavis Gallant dies at 91

OTTAWA- Acclaimed short story writer Mavis Gallant died Tuesday morning at her Paris apartment, her publishers said. She was 91.
"Without exaggeration she was one of the finest writers Canada has ever known," said her publisher Doug Pepper of McClelland & Stewart.

"Witty, brave, honest, fiercely independent, Mavis was a stunning writer who transformed the short fiction form," he said.
"She was also a woman ahead of her time, blazing a trail of independence that took courage and determination that inspired legions of other authors who count her influence as seminal to their own careers."
Born Mavis Young in Montreal in 1922, the only child of a furniture salesman and his wife, she worked briefly in the cutting room of the National Film Board of Canada, then as a journalist at the now defunct daily Montreal Standard, before moving to Paris in 1950.
A year later, she began publishing stories on a regular basis in The New Yorker, contributing more than 100 stories to the magazine in her lifetime. She also published two novels and won several literary awards.
Her latest work, "The Journals of Mavis Gallant" is due out next year.
When she could afford it, Gallant reportedly traveled and recorded her observations about post-Second World War Europe in a notebook which she later consulted for dialogue or descriptions of settings for her stories.
Her tales often explored dislocation and alienation, using characters such as refugees or lost travelers, who are unhappy and have troubled or fragmented lives.
Gallant was "a sharp observer of human nature, a formidable conversationalist, and an indomitable spirit who made her own way, often uphill," commented author Margaret Atwood.
"She was funny, quirky, and prickly if you crossed her, but kind underneath it, especially to underdogs. Her unique voice will be much missed."
Fellow Canadian short story writer and Nobel prize winner Alice Munro said she was "a constant influence on my life as a writer."
Gallant married musician John Gallant while living in Canada but they divorced five years later.

Wednesday, February 19th 2014

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