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Trent University Professor Wins the Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois


Prof. Sylvie Bérard recognized for her novel Terre des Autres

Friday, April 29, 2005, Peterborough

Along with a fascinating story of extreme culture shock, Terre des Autres by Dr. Sylvie Bérard, of Trent's Modern Languages and Literatures department, is also the winner of the Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois.

Chosen from among 80 authors, Prof. Bérard was recognized for the style and structure of her writing, as well as for her story's narrative qualities and the various perspectives she acknowledges. Most surprising, says Prof. Bérard, her story about human beings and reptiles conflicting as they learn to cohabit over 100 years, was recognized for its realism.

"They were telling me that I told a good story, which made me very happy, because I realized that I had accomplished what I had set out to do," she says.

Terre des Autres, is Prof. Bérard's first independent novel, though she co-authored Elle meurt à la fin with Brigitte Caron in 1994. For more than 15 years however, Prof. Bérard has been writing short stories. In fact, the first chapter of Terre des Autres – "La Guerre Sans Temps" originated as a 40-page story that was published in Quebec magazine Solaris. The story won both the Boreal and Aurora awards for best French Canadian short story.

Prof. Bérard describes Terre des Autres as a classical science fiction story, in which space invaders or "cowboys" want to change and colonize a planet.

"Every chapter explores what happens when two races are at war and when people meet at a special space and time and have no choice but to be together," she says.

The award consists of $2,500 and recognition that could lead to translation, stage and film rights.

Prof. Bérard, who has received other literary awards, says she is now honoured to count herself among a collection of four prominent female science-fiction authors in Quebec.

"We in Modern Languages and Literatures have always prided ourselves on having creative writers among our faculty," said Dr. Roy Hagman, department chair. "When one of them achieves recognition of this sort, it raises the international standing of the department and the University. Prof. Bérard's accomplishment is a cause of great celebration for us."

Prof. Bérard first came to Trent in 1998 and after a year at Queen's University in 1999, returned to teach francophone and Québécois literature. Her Ph.D. and post-doctorate work focused on science fiction. With the support of her current Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, Prof. Bérard is studying territory in female Québécois literature.


To reach Prof. Sylvie Bérard, please contact Alicia Doris, Communications Officer, 705-748-1011, ext. 1456


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Last Updated April 29, 2005