Nicole Brossard (Montreal, 1943), poet and novelist, received a literature degree from the Université de Montréal and a teaching degree from the Université du Québec. She taught for two years, then chose a literary career to which she has devoted herself entirely, especially to avant-garde movements. In 1965, she founded the magazine La Barre du Jour, and was its director. She participated in the Havana Cultural Congress in 1968, piloted the Quebec dossier for the magazine Opus International, was part of the steering committee for the International Writers’ Meeting in 1975 (theme: women and writing), and attended the Cerisy meetings on Quebec literature (1980).
A confirmed feminist, she prepared and directed the film Some American Feminists (National Film Board of Canada) in collaboration with Luce Guilbeault (1975-1976), then wrote a play, La nef des sorcières, founded the magazine Les Têtes de pioche with a group of women and, with Andrée Yanacopoulo, directed the “Délire” collection with Parti Pris publishers. She participated in the Toronto International Poetry Festival in 1975 and in the Interamerican Festival of Woman Writers in Ottawa in 1978. She was the co-director of the collection “Réelles” with Quinze éditeur, a Quebec publisher (1979-1981). Over the years, she has published in a wide variety of magazines, including Estuaire, Art le Sabord, Walrus, Yale French Studies, Smerilliana, Anterem, Siècle 21 and La Tempestad. In 1985, she participated in the first Festival national de la poésie à Trois-Rivières and, in 1986, in the International Fair of Feminist Books in Oslo.
Over the last years, Brossard has given a large number of lectures and talks around the world and participated in several poetry festivals, including Struga, Barcelona, Coimbra and Morelia. In 1991, she published, in collaboration with Lisette Girouard, L’Anthologie de la poésie des femmes au Québec, an indispensable reference tool. In 2002, Brossard published an anthology called Poèmes à dire la francophonie.
Nicole Brossard was among the founders of the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois. She has received numerous awards, including the Governor-General’s twice: in 1974 for Mécanique jongleuse and in 1984 for Double impression. In 1989, she also won the Grand Prix du festival international de poésie for Installations and À tout regard, and the Prix Athanase-David in 1991 for the body of her work. She joined the Académie des lettres du Québec in 1994. In 1991, she received an honoris causa degree from the University of Western Ontario and in 1997, the University of Sherbrooke gave her a similar honor in letters and communication. In 1999, she won the Grand Prix du Festival international de poésie de Trois-Rivières a second time for Au présent des veines and Musée de l’os et de l’eau. She won the W. O. Mitchell Award in 2003 and, in 2006, the Molson Prize from the Canada Council. In 2008, she was a finalist for the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for Excellence.
Her books have been translated into English and Spanish, but also Japanese, Slovenian, German, and Catalan. Her most recent works include La Capture du sombre (2007) and Ardeur (2008).
Her literary practice has placed her at the heart of feminist and avant-garde writing. Her work is fluid, sensual and features ellipses, in poetry as in her novels, where her characters reveal their emotions only through allusion. Her work arises from a complex poetic universe, both open to the world and very intimate.
“Nicole Brossard’s work, unique in Quebec poetry, has created enthusiasm at home and abroad. From the very start, her writing has been a beacon for the generations of writers who have followed,” we read in the anthology of her poetry D’aube et de civilisation (2008).