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Yves Beauchemin is a French-Canadian novelist whose work, which is full of both robust comedy and political themes, has been compared to that of Dickens and Balzac. Beauchemin was born in 1941 in Noranda, Quebec, Canada. An avid reader as a teenager, he devoured Balzac, Steinbeck, Dickens, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and other authors who inspired him to try his hand at fiction. Later he attended the College Universitaire Garneau in Quebec, where he taught foreign literature from 1965 to 1966. In 1969 he became a researcher for Radio-Quebec in Montreal, a position he retained while embarking on his career in literature. Beauchemin's first novel, L'Enfirouape (The Sucker, 1974), which was based on a 1970 political kidnapping in Quebec, won him the Prix France-Quebec. He then spent several years working on Le Matou, which was published in French in 1981 and in English as The Alley Cat in 1986. A combination of political allegory and black comedy, it won acclaim in both Canada and the United States.
SHEILA FISCHMAN has translated over fifty works of Quebec literature into English. She was the recipient of the Felix-Antoine Savard prize for her translations in 1989 and 1990 and has twice won the Governor General's Award. She lives in Montreal.