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 Mavis Gallant

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Mavis Gallant

  • Birth 11 Aug 1922 Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Death 18 Feb 2014 City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
  • Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
  • Memorial ID 125605076

Author. She is best remembered for her short stories that dealt with uprooted lives and abandonment. Born Mavis Leslie de Trafford Young, her father was Canadian furniture salesman and painter and her mother was an artist and playwright. When she was 10 years old, her father died of kidney disease. Her mother remarried and moved to New York, and she remained in Montreal with a guardian, unaware that her father was dead. She received her education at numerous public, private, and convent schools in the US and Canada. In 1942 she married John Gallant, a musician from Winnipeg, Canada and they divorced in 1947. She briefly worked for the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal before taking a job in 1944 as a reporter for the Montreal Standard. While working there, she published some of her early short stories, both in the newspaper and in the magazines Preview and Northern Review. In 1950 she left her job and moved to Europe to pursue fiction writing, living briefly in Spain and other places, before settling in Paris, France. Her first internationally published short story, "Madeline's Birthday," appeared in the September 1, 1951 issue of The New Yorker. The magazine soon published other stories of hers, including "One Morning in June" and "The Picnic." She did not initially know these later stories had been accepted by the magazine, as her literary agent pocketed her royalties and told her the magazine had declined her stories, while simultaneously lying about her residence to the magazine so they could not contact her directly. She discovered that she had been published only upon seeing her name in the magazine while reading it in a library, and then established a longstanding relationship with the magazine by directly contacting and befriending New Yorker fiction editor William Maxwell. She went on to write two novels, "Green Water, Green Sky" (1959) and "A Fairly Good Time" (1970), a play, "What Is to Be Done?" (1984), numerous celebrated collections of stories including "The Other Paris" (1956), "My Heart Is Broken" (1964), "The Pegnitz Junction" (1973), "The End of the World and Other Stories" (1974), "From the Fifteenth District" (1978), "Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories" (1981), "Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris" (1985), "In Transit" (1988) and "Across the Bridge and Other Stories" (1993), "The Moslem Wife" (1994), and a non-fiction work, "Paris Notebooks: Selected Essays and Reviews" (1986). Numerous new collections of stories from the earlier books, including "The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant" (1996), "Paris Stories" (2002) and "Montreal Stories" (2004), were also released in the 1990s and 2000s. Additionally, a 2009 book published as "Going Ashore" in Canada and "The Cost of Living" internationally, collected stories from throughout her career which were published in literary magazines but had not appeared in her earlier collections. Her "Linnet Muir" series of stories, which appeared in several of her books before being collected in their entirety in "Home Truths," are perhaps her most explicitly semi-autobiographical works. In 1981 she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to literature and in 1993 she was promoted to Companion of the Order. In 1983 she returned to Canada to be the writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto. In 1989 she was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1991, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. In 2000 she was the recipient of the Matt Cohen Prize and in 2002 she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. In 2004 she was awarded a Lannan Literary Fellowship as well as a PEN/Nabokov Award. In November 2006 she received the Prix Athanase-David from the government of her native province of Quebec, the first author writing in English to receive this award in its 38 years of existence. She died at the age of 91. The Quebec Writers' Federation Awards committee has named its annual non-fiction literary award in her honor. The O. Henry Prize Stories of 2003 was dedicated to her.

Bio by: William Bjornstad





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 25 Feb 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 125605076
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mavis Gallant (11 Aug 1922–18 Feb 2014), Find A Grave Memorial no. 125605076, citing Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .