A veritable artist, Maillet becomes a "creator of sounds, of colours, of forms and words." As she speaks, she paints a vast landscape of mountains and oceans, history and story, using the tools on her palette: blending the colours of myths and those of contemporary issues, creating an epic poem in a profoundly personal voice. This country she portrays is both young and old, speaks two languages, has a rich subconscious, and aspirations. She ends her lecture by re-telling a story originally written by Rabelais- which, incidentally, was penned the same year as the discovery of America.
The grande dame of storytelling uses her art to make an appeal for solidarity, in favour of the protection of
cultures and the preservation of languages. Will her country, she asks, the one made "of many faces" and paradoxes, "be able to give nations of diverse origins their rightful place?"
Renowned, notably, for her iconic play La Sagouine, Antonine Maillet received the prestigious Prix Goncourt for her novel Pélagie-la-Charette, thereby becoming the first non-European laureate of the most prestigious award in France. Since then, she has published over twenty novels and many plays, and also translated several celebrated authors such as Shakespeare. She is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Governor General Literary Award, the Royal Society of Canada's Lorne Pierce Medal, and the Prix Goncourt.