The winners of the prestigious Governor-General's Literary Awards were announced this past week - and one of them is a Grand Falls-Windsor native.
And not only that, Dr. Annette Hayward, who teaches French, with a specialty in Quebec literature at Queen's University, beat out four francophones to win the non-fiction award in French category for La querelle du rÉgionalisme au QuÉbec (1904-1931): Vers l'autonomisation de la littÉrature quÉbÉcoise.
For anyone who thinks that your best hope in learning a second language fades after the early years, think again.
A Grand Falls-Windsor native is a finalist for the 2007 Governor General's Literary Awards, one of the most prestigious honours in the country.
And her book is in French - not a translation from by her or someone else, but one she has written in that language.
However, Dr. Hayward didn't even learn French until she was a teenager.
She hasn't lived in
She also mentions that her original interest in different cultures was sparked by a trip she won, courtesy of the local Oddfellows branch, to the United Nations headquarters in
The book, a hefty tome of 622 pages, was a labour of love which started out decades ago as a research project for her thesis for her Ph.D. That thesis was originally more than 1,000 pages.
"After a few years, I realized that people in
"Then I participated (an event) at McGill and I used my thesis to sort of prepare…I thought, I don't have a complete copy, but then I found a complete copy. I realized the value was in the footnotes and the details.
"I got a little bit of money from a research fund and a student typed a few chapters of it, because I had typed it on a typewriter. Then my son scanned a couple of chapters in, and them my husband went to
The Governor-General's award is $25,000.
Dr. Hayward's book focuses on an interesting time in Quebecois literature, during the early 20th century, when many of the province's writers were creating a literary landscape of their own. It's the coming of age of
Many writers were defining themselves and they wanted what would be a national, French Canadian literature, different from
But some writers had depicted a stereotyped attitude of what a French Canadian should be like, a person who lives on the farm and is close to God, and they didn't really want realism. Dr. Hayward says this group caused conflict when some writers decided they didn't want to write in that idealized style.
I hope I didn't make any enemies. No one wrote to me to say I didn't deserve it. It got critical acclaim in a variety of French publications, like Le Devoir (Quebecois French-language daily) and they were ecstatic about it."
Being an Anglophone who didn't learn the language until her teen years, Dr. Hayward's journey from unilingual to French professor and award winner can be seen as an inspiration for parents and teachers in this province seeing their kids struggle with learning a second language.
French immersion and core French are now taken for granted in is a major part of the curriculum in many
Dr. Hayward went to
For those who despair of learning a few French words, let alone being bilingual, Dr. Hayward says it's never too late to tackle a new language: even to the point of winning a major award.
"If you enjoy it, you can do it - that's why I took French, because I loved it so much."