• My account

Press release

Facebook. Twitter.

September 15, 2008

At the Grande Bibliothèque from September 23, 2008 to January 18, 2009

BAnQ presents a major exhibition devoted to writer Yves Thériault

Montréal, September 15, 2008 – Twenty-five years after Yves Thériault's death and fifty years after his most famous novel, Agaguk, was published, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is devoting a major exhibition to this master story teller and novelist who wrote of the great outdoors and freedom. Entitled Yves Thériault : le pari de l'écriture, the exhibition is being presented at the Grande Bibliothèque, simultaneously in the main exhibition hall and in Espace Jeunes, from September 23, 2008 to January 18, 2009.

Yves Thériault

Photo: Denis Plain

The exhibition attests to the reckless gamble Yves Thériault took by living from his writing and resonates with the amazing diversity of his writings: stories, screenplays, lonely hearts columns and, of course, great novels. The majority of the artifacts on display, including unpublished texts, come from BAnQ's Yves Thériault Fonds. Visitors are invited to rediscover the man and his works through manuscripts, books and their translations into a number of languages, personal documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, films and radio interviews. The exhibition's meticulous and inventive staging is unveiled under a boreal sky.


A free and prolific writer

The gamble of writing to make a living and writing as the art of living – these were the touchstones of Yves Thériault's literary adventure and represented his social originality in the Québec of his day. The audacity of the themes touched upon in his works – defending minorities, appreciating others, the dangers inherent in the "invasion of progress", among others – and his totally personal way of using language, his complete freedom in moving between the spoken and the written word, between popular and scholarly writing, between radio and the novel. As such, his works leave us with one undeniable conclusion: Yves Thériault was a professional writer, a full-time writer, right to the end. This instinctive, self-taught man lived for his art alone, and he did not try to protect himself by doing anything else that might have brought him income.

Yves Thériault was born in Québec City in 1915 and grew up in Montréal. Having completed "a strong eighth grade" as he would say himself, he received the Athanase-David prize in 1979. He died in 1983. From Contes pour un homme seul (1944) to Moi, Pierre Huneau (1976), a very beautiful novel full of nobility and tenderness, he produced a unique and controversial œuvre. He wrote 30 novels, nine collections of short stories and tales, 26 novels and collections for young people, 1,400 radio texts, 50 texts for television, numerous “dime novels” written under various pseudonyms, articles that appeared in a number of Québec and Canadian newspapers and magazines, scripts for movie shorts, publicity material and speeches. Yves Thériault is truly a giant of Québec literature. He is often spoken of as Québec's most read, most studied, most translated and most prolific author.


An exhibition for young people in Espace Jeunes

Yves Thériault published 26 novels and collections of short stories and tales for young people. Children's literature gave him a great deal of satisfaction because, in writing it, he could be even more free with the themes that appeared in his other writings: respect for the laws of nature, the importance of friendship and tenderness, the need to recognize the territorial rights of native peoples, etc. As a part of this large exhibition, it seemed essential to include his writings for young people, especially the adventures of secret agent Volpek, a character considered to be the Canadian equivalent of the legendary Bob Morane. Younger children's interest will be piqued by the adventures of Ti-Jean, Nakika and Popok. Amusing activities, including question and observation games will lead children aged 2 to 13 along the path of the author's works.


An exhibition curator keen on the works of Yves Thériault

With the support of a scholarly committee of eight, Renald Bérubé is the curator for this exhibition. Mr. Bérubé has a doctorate from Université Laval and he taught literature at the Collège Sainte-Marie (1965-1969), the Université du Québec à Montréal (1969-1975) and the Université du Québec à Rimouski (1975-2003). His master's thesis was entitled Suite et discontinuité entre Agaguk et Tayaout, fils d'Agaguk d'Yves Thériault (Université de Montréal, 1972).


The catalogue, an indispensable complement to the exhibition

In conjunction with the exhibition, BAnQ is publishing, together with the Presses de l'Université Laval, a catalogue entitled Yves Thériault : le pari de l'écriture. Under the direction of Renald Bérubé, this publication of 176 pages brings together previously unpublished texts by eleven authors, including Renald Bérubé, Michel Biron, Lise Bissonnette, André Brochu, Jacques Godbout, Hélène Lafrance, Claire Le Brun-Gouanvic, Laurent Mailhot, Robert Major, Jean Morency and Alain Person. It is illustrated with photographs and images mainly from BAnQ's Yves Thériault Fonds. This work is on sale at the boutique of the Grande Bibliothèque (boutique@banq.qc.ca) and in book stores for $37.95.


Rich and diversified cultural programmes

BAnQ will also be offering the general public a reading in homage to Yves Thériault and guided visits to the exhibition.

  • Wednesday, September 24 and November 19 at 7 pm
    Guided tour of the exhibition Yves Thériault : le pari de l'écriture with curator Renald Bérubé
    Meeting place: Room M.450, Level M
    Reservations at the reception desk of the Grande Bibliothèque (20 places available for the visit)


  • Friday, September 26 at 7 pm
    Yves Thériault, maître conteur
    Auditorium, ground floor
    Free admission (300 places available)
    Readings of extracts from the works of Yves Thériault accompanied by music, with Marie José Thériault (texts and songs) and Jean Marchand (texts and piano), presented as part of the 14th Festival international de la littérature (FIL).


  • Sunday, October 5, November 2 and 30, from 2 to 3 pm
    Sunday visits for young people
    Théâtre Inimagimô, Espace Jeunes, Level M
    Limited number of places: 30 in each group (15 children, each accompanied by an adult)
    Reservations at the Espace Jeunes service counter
    Animated visit to the exhibition Yves Thériault : le pari de l'écriture, as well as a number of other activities: readings, handicrafts and games based on the themes of the exhibition.


In brief

Exhibition Yves Thériault : le pari de l'écriture
From September 23, 2008 to January 18, 2009
Main exhibition hall of the Grande Bibliothèque and Espace Jeunes (Level M)
475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est
Berri-UQAM metro station
Contact: 514 873-1100 or 1 800 363-9028 – www.banq.qc.ca
Free admission

A BAnQ production


Top About the Grande Bibliothèque and BAnQ

Welcoming nearly 10,000 visitors a day since opening its doors in April 2005, the Grande Bibliothèque is a major cultural beacon of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). BAnQ's mission is to acquire, preserve and disseminate the publications, archival documents and films constituting Québec and Québec-related documentary heritage . It also offers all Quebecers free access¿on site, on the Internet and through interlibrary loan¿to vast universal collections and to the services of a major public library. BAnQ encompasses the Grande Bibliothèque, a preservation centre and nine archives centres in Montréal, Québec City, Gatineau, Rimouski, Rouyn-Noranda, Saguenay, Sept-Îles, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières.