Birth of a Bookworm

By Michel Tremblay
Translated by Sheila Fischman

Birth of a Bookworm
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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 ... Read more


Overview

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 ActsBirth 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.

Michel Tremblay

A major figure in Québec literature, Michel Tremblay has built an impressive body of work as a playwright, novelist, translator, and screenwriter. To date Tremblay’s complete works include twenty-nine plays, thirty-one novels, six collections of autobiographical stories, a collection of tales, seven screenplays, forty-six translations and adaptations of works by foreign writers, nine plays and twelve stories printed in diverse publications, an opera libretto, a song cycle, a Symphonic Christmas Tale, and two musicals. His work has won numerous awards and accolades; his plays have been published and translated into forty languages and have garnered critical acclaim in Canada, the United States, and more than fifty countries around the world.

Sheila Fischman

Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Sheila Fischman was raised in Ontario and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has also been a columnist for the Globe and Mail and Montreal Gazette, a broadcaster with CBCRadio, and literary editor of the Montreal Star. She now devotes herself full time to literary translation, specializing in contemporary Québec fiction, and has translated more than 125 Québec novels by, among others, Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, Marie-Claire Blais, and Roch Carrier.Sheila Fischman has received numerous honours, including the 1998 Governor General’s Award (for her translation of Michel Tremblay’s Bambi and Me for Talonbooks); she has been a finalist fourteen times for this award. She has received two Canada Council Translation Prizes and two Félix-Antoine Savard Awards from Columbia University. In 2000, she was invested into the Order of Canada and, in 2008, into the Ordre national du Québec, and, in 2008, she received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize for her outstanding contributions to Canadian literature. She holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ottawa and Waterloo. Fischman currently resides in Montréal.

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