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Pélagie la Charette won its author the Prix Goncour in 1979. It was the first time this prestigious literary prize was awarded for french language work produced outside France. The author, Antonine Maillet, an Acadian and a literature professor believed that for a culture to survive, it needed myth and its own language among other things. Pélagie la Charette is her rendition of a true eighteenth century Acadian story, in mythical proportion, the story of a lone woman, Pélagie la Charette (Pélagie of the Cart, literally) who single-handedly brings her people home, across a continent, pulling with her a cart filled with the treasures of her people. The historical event that her story is based on is that of the Acadian Deportation of 1755. Acadians were the first French settlers in Canada who came under siege when Canada fell definitively to the English through the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. As well as creating a story of epic proportions, Maillet also makes a point of recovering ancient french words and expressions falling into disuse today. It is a voyage of discovery to experience this book in its original language for that reason. However, the book is available in English translation.