In Birth of a Bookworm, Michel Tremblay takes the reader on a tour of the books that have had a formative influence on the birth and early development of his creative imagination. Included are his readings of and reactions to some of the great classics of world literature by such writers as the Comtesse de Segur, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson and, above all, the Brothers Grimm. One of the great moments in this very personal voyage of literary discovery is Tremblay’s astonishingly revelatory and prescient account of a summer spent regaling his little friends with his invented alternate endings to the story of Snow White. Here, more than anywhere else, do we get a sense of an author emerging from the received magic of his encounters with stories, and discovering his own need to tell them anew, with the fresh, contemporary sensibility of his own time, place and circumstance.
As in the other two volumes in “the education of Michel Tremblay”— his memoir of the formative films in his life, Bambi and Me, and his first encounters with the world of the theatre, Twelve Opening Acts — Birth of a Bookworm is first and foremost a love story of Michel for his muses, ushered into his life and hovered over with the acute care and concern of his match-making mother. As in all of Tremblay’s work, the physical and emotional world of his childhood is celebrated as the fertile ground on which his new, vivid way of seeing and imagining is built.
About the authors
One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Michel Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. His dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity, including translations of his plays that have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Awards and Recognition*
Prix du Grand (2009) La Traversée de la ville (Leméac Editeur Inc.)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix (2006)
Globe and Mail Top 100 Books (2003) Birth of a Bookworm
Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2000) For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Chalmers Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 2000)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1999)
Molson Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1994)
Louis-Hémon Prize (1994)
Montreal Book Fair Grand Public Prize (1994)
Banff Centre National Award (1992)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1991)
Chevalier of the Order of Quebec (1990)
San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festival Long-Standing Public Service Award (1989)
CBC Anik Prize (1988)
Athanase-David Lifetime Achievement Prize (1988)
Quebec-Paris Prize (1985)
Chevalier of Arts and Letters of France (1984)
John Van Burek
John Van Burek has been a practising theatre artist for over 20 years, in both French and English, throughout Canada. He has also worked in the fields of opera, film and television. He is also one of Canada’s leading translators for theatre, most notably of Michel Tremblay’s plays, including Les Belles-Soeurs (Talonbooks). Mr. Van Burek has received several awards and citations for his work, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Canadian Theatre.
Born in Quebec, William Grant (?Bill”) Glassco was a Canadian theatre director, producer and founder of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre. He then became the artistic director of the CentreStage Theatre Company which merged, in 1988, with the Toronto Free Theatre to become CanStage. In 1982, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.