Categories: Male Authors - Francophone Authors - Novelists - Southeast
Novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, Jean Babineau was born in 1952 in Moncton, where he attended École secondaire Vanier. He has had three novels published by Éditions Perce-Neige: Bloupe (1993), Gîte (1998), and Vortex (2003, Prix littéraire Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie). Several critics have noted how his novels manipulate languages. He has obtained a number of scholarships in New Brunswick and Canada.
In 2002, Babineau participated in a playwriting workshop with Louis-Dominique Lavigne offered by Moncton’s Théâtre de l’Escaouette, and in 2003, in the Résidence d’écriture franco-canadienne (French-Canadian playwrights’ residency) organized by the Centre des auteurs dramatiques. His play Tangentes, directed by Andréi Zaharia, was presented at L’Escaouette in 2006 and at Théâtre de la Grand-Voile in 2007. He is now working on a second play, Ruches, and is revising a novel on the Kouchibouguac saga entitled Infini. He holds a Master’s degree in creative writing from the Université de Moncton and is a Ph.D. candidate in literature. His writing has been published in several periodicals.
How has New Brunswick influenced your work?
Because, for the most part, I’ve always lived in New Brunswick, my imagination has been fed by my experiences, the people and landscapes of New Brunswick. When I was a child, our family would often camp near the province’s coast and rivers. That’s reflected in certain images that come out in my writing. Also, the special character of southeastern New Brunswick, where Francophones are the minority and chiac is spoken, represents an important component of my writing. I have worked hard to get chiac entrenched in literature.
What is your favourite New Brunswick book, and why?
My favourite New Brunswick book is Moncton Mantra, which I read in one sitting. This novel by Gérald Leblanc is the only New Brunswick Künstlerroman, or novel of an artist’s education, that I know of. It begins with him starting to want to become a writer and ends with the publication of his first collection. The starting and ending sections of the narrative are very well executed for this sub-genre of novel. Leblanc gives only what is needed to fill in the blanks on his education as a writer, while portraying an era when the counter-culture gave rise to several Acadian writers. He never gets lost in trivial details, and the arc of the story is therefore completed.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
Although I was very pleased with the critical reception of my first novel, Bloupe, my most recent one, Vortex, is the highlight of my career. As Gérald Leblanc said, the book we write is always the one we would have liked to write when we were writing the previous one. In addition, Vortex was awarded the Prix littéraire Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie in 2004, which didn’t do any harm.
|Prix littéraire Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie - 2004||In recognition of: Vortex|
Les feuilles que j’envoie promener... J’entre travailler. À pied. Descends la Highfield. Tourne à gauche sur la Main. Passe sous le subway. Les grosses lettres lumineuses : Wallco, apparaissent. Rouges. Agressives ? Tu ne peux pas les manquer et elles ne te manquent pas. Un champ de tir. Que fais-tu avec ta vie anyways ? Les feuilles tournoient. Le mur courbe. Le coin arrondi. L’usure. Les nouveaux murs de briques. 120° ? Le contour. Entre. Descends dans l’escalator. Perds presque mon ballant. Tombe presque à la renverse. Muzak... Me rends à mon casier. Enlève mon manteau d’automne. Vais aux rayons à ranger. Regarde les haut-parleurs ronds enchâssés dans le plafond. Y a-t-il une caméra là-dedans ? L’œil s’efforce. Eye out of socket. Qu’est-ce que tu fous icitte anyways ? L’éclairage te drive, te fait voir tout en jaune. Medium shade of yellow. No vestal... Pas de veste. Remonte dans l’escalator.(p. 9)