The Académie française elects Canadian/Haitian to occupy fauteuil number two (F2)
Posted by Editor on Sunday, February 2, 2014
By Roy Lie.
On 12 December 2013, Dany Laferrière, a sharp-witted novelist, has become the first Quebecer and the first Haitian to be elected as an immortal of the prestigious Académie française. He was elected in the first round of balloting and will assume the second chair of the Académie.
The Académie française was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, the Académie was restored in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
The goals of the Académie française are to maintain the purity of the French language, publish an official dictionary of the language and promote eloquence in the arts and sciences. The Académie consists of forty members. All are elected for life.
Laferrière intends to take Haitian Creole (vocabulary) as well as some of the Quebec vernacular to the Académie française.
Dany Laferrière is proud of his roots and that is what makes his election so special.
In 2010, the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) awarded Dany Laferrière a doctorate for his literary commitment and the remarkable influence of his work in French literature, reflecting cultural diversity and the Quebec of the past 30 years.
When asked what the secret of his success is, Laferrière said, ‘I have no secret. It’s the job and the arrogance to believe that nothing is impossible’.