Marie-Claire Blais, Canadian novelist, dies at 82

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Family confirm death of French-Canadian writer whose first book, La Vie de Nateire (The Lonely Country), won the Prix Goncourt

Marie-Claire Blais, who became one of the most celebrated writers in French Canada, has died.

Her literary agent Julie Gould said Blais died on Saturday following a battle with Alzheimer’s. She was 82.

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Gould said: “The family thanks everyone for their thoughts and expresses their appreciation for Marie-Claire’s legacy and her readers worldwide.”

Born in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, in 1933, Blais began her literary career as a teacher. Her first book, La Vie de Nateire (The Lonely Country), won the Prix Goncourt in 1967. Other notable novels include The Voyeur’s Motel and Story of Two Characters.

Despite an overwhelming amount of praise from critics and readers, she was thwarted from winning the Nobel prize for literature in 1993. It was later decided that past winners were ineligible.

She worked with her husband and collaborator Jacques Lefebvre, who helped bring the couple’s epistolary love story, The Voyeur’s Motel, to life after many rejections.

Lefebvre died in 2015.

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