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Dany Laferrière

Officer
2017
Dany Laferriere

Dany Laferrière is one of the most renowned contemporary writers. From the outset his works have achieved great popular success, and his brilliant literary career has been crowned by dozens of awards and honours. He was elected to the Académie française in 2013.

Born in Haiti, Dany Laferrière spent his childhood with his grandmother Da in Petit-Goâve. He began his writing career as a journalist in the weekly paper Le Petit Samedi soir. He set out for Québec in 1976, fleeing the Duvalier dictatorship after the assassination of his friend Gasner Raymond. He worked in Montréal as a labourer and then started writing again, with the launch of his first novel How to Make Love to a Negro (Without Getting Tired) (1985).

Rising to fame, he became the representative of a generation that revolutionized the novel, with his series Autobiographie américaine, in which Éroshima (1987), L'Odeur du café (1991), Le Goût des jeunes filles (1992), Cette Grenade dans la main du jeune nègre est-elle une arme ou un fruit? and Le Cri des oiseaux fous (2000), in particular, stand out.

Winner of the Prix Médicis, the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal, the Prix des libraires du Québec and the Prix International de littérature de la Maison des cultures du monde for L’énigme du retour (2009), Laferrière has built a patient, powerful body of work that includes Les 80 dans ma vieille Ford (2005), Tout bouge autour de moi (2010), L'art presque perdu de ne rien faire (2011) and Tout ce qu’on ne te dira pas, Mongo (2015).

For the cinema, Dany Laferrière wrote the screenplays for Comment faire l'amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer (1989), Le Goût des jeunes filles (2004) and Vers le Sud (2005), and he directed Comment conquérir l'Amérique en une nuit (2004). For young readers, he published Je suis fou de Vava (2006), which won the Governor-General’s award, La fête des morts (2009) and Le baiser mauve de Vava (2014). His works have spread around the world, with translations into 15 languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German and Polish.

Laferrière has also received the Grand Prix Ludger-Duvernay, the Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix and the Mérite du français dans la culture from the Office québécois de la langue française. He was named Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, Citoyen d’honneur de Montréal, Officer of the Order of Canada, Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, commander of the Ordre de la Pléiade and Compagnon des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. 

Dany Laferrière has received honorary doctorates from the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), the École normale supérieure de Lyon, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Middlebury College, the Université Paris-Sorbonne and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie de Paris.

Photo : Nemo Perrier Stefanovitch, Mémoire d'encrier

The picture and biographical information appearing on this page were current at the time this person was admitted to the Ordre de Montréal.