Gail Scott’s prose works are laboratories for concocting tales about cities across language/genre/gender boundaries. Her 2021 poetics, Permanent (upside down) Revolution, engaging with radical prose writers across the continent , was short-listed for Le Grand Prix du livre de Montréal. Other acclaimed city novels include the Obituary, a fractalled tale of suppressed diversity in post-millennial Québec, also a Grand Prix finalist; Heroine, about radical art and politics in turbulent 80s Montréal (4th edition); and My Paris, about a sad diarist looking for a lost avant-garde in 90s Paris. Her translation of Michael Delisle’s Le désarroi du matelot was a Governor General finalist. She won major studio grants (Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec) for New York, Paris. She was invited writer at Brown, UCSD, University of Alberta, and Université de Montréal, where she taught Creative Writing for 15 years. Scott lives in Montréal.
(Author photo by Maxence Bilodeau)
For GS, working to create a modern heroine, the question is how to live in the present — that “small point” (figured, in the bathtub, by her clitoris and the narrow threshold of climax). Her relentless delving into the past signals not only obsession or melancholy, but an impulse to interrogate history, even as she strives to create something new.
—LARB on Heroine
So what I mainly want to assert is that Heroine is more a work of reading than of writing, it is all studio, by which I mean it’s something fabulously risky and alive. It’s literature and the possibility of it
—Eileen Myles, Paris Review on Heroine
Heroine is a bold, transfixing work, earthy and raw, dreamlike and strangely elegant, threaded through with winding sentences, peppered with lines and conversations in French (a vivid rendering of the life of an Anglophone in a Francophone culture). It retains all of its original, revolutionary force not just because of that stylistic daring, however, but because many of its concerns remain, in suitably shifting forms, to be key concerns today.
Reviews of books by Gail Scott
Theory, A Sunday
-Gail Scott in conversation with Jane Malcom in Jacket2
-Gail Scott with Melissa Bull in Maisonneuve
-Gail Scott with Gillian Lane-Mercier in SCL/ÉLC
-Gail Scott in conversation with Christy Davids in Jacket2
-Gail Scott on PennSound
Gail Scott in conversation with Lisa Roberton for Permanent Revolution book launch:
Gail Scott reads from Permanent Revolution: