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Drama Women Authors

The December Man (L'homme de décembre)

by (author) Colleen Murphy

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
May 2007
Women Authors, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2007
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2007
    List Price

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In the aftermath of the 1989 Montreal Massacre, Benoît and Kathleen do everything they can to help their beloved son cope with his guilt and rage… but Jean's young life becomes unglued.

Using humour and the humdrum of everyday life, Murphy intuitively moves backwards in time to the fateful day when Jean, the only ray of hope in this working-class family, escaped the massacre… or thought he did. This searing drama on courage, heroism, and despair explores the long private shadow that public violence casts. Winner of the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama and the 2008 CAA Carol Bolt Award.

About the author

Colleen Murphy is a playwright, filmmaker and librettist, born in 1954 in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, raised in Northern Ontario, and now based in Toronto. Her play Pig Girl won the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama as well as the 2014 Carol Bolt Award. The December Man / L'homme de decembre won the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, the CAA/Carol Bolt Award and the Enbridge Playwrights Award. Other plays include The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius, The Breathing Hole (shortlisted for the Susan Blackburn Prize, U.S. and the Carol Bolt Award), Bright Burning, Armstrong's War, The Goodnight Bird, Beating Heart Cadaver (shortlisted for the 1999 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama) The Piper and Down in Adoration Falling. Libretti include Oksana G., (c. Aaron Gervais) for Tapestry Opera (nominated for seven Dora Mavor Moore Awards), Bring Me The Head Of The President and My Mouth On Your Heart, (c. August Murphy-King) for Tapestry and Toy Piano Composers and Bicycle Opera, respectively. Colleen twice won prizes in the CBC Literary Competition. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and her distinct films have played in festivals around the world.

Colleen has been Writer-in-Residence at four theatres and six Canadian universities and Canadian Playwright-in-Residence at Finborough Theatre in London UK. In 2017, Colleen was awarded a Canada Council New Chapter Grant to write a six-hour play, Geography of Fire / La Furie et sa geographie.

Upcoming: libretto for Fantasma (c. Ian Cusson) for the Canadian Opera Company, Fall 2021; screenplay for Armstrong's War, produced by Solo Productions (Mary-Young Leckie), Fall 2021.


Colleen Murphy's profile page


  • Winner, CAA Carol Bolt Award for Drama
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Award for Drama
  • Winner, Enbridge playRites Award

Editorial Reviews

"…a stroke of genius on Murphy's part to tell the story backwards, a device Harold Pinter used for similar compelling effect in his 1978 drama Betrayal. Not only is the drama in The December Man heightened because of this theatrical device, but the comic moments have a bitter sting to them. "

Calgary Sun

"…a chilling must-see. It isn't too often that the gurgling sound of a coffee maker percolating brings tears."

Fast Forward, Calgary

"The December Man is a time out from a pop cultural world so drenched in violence that it's almost become commonplace to pour a drink, flip on the news and watch bedlam unfold in various time zones around the world, all woven into a nice, tidy narrative by an attractive, trustworthy correspondent. Murphy is the correspondent for the fallen."

Governor General's Literary Award jury

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