Suzanne Lebeau, Compagne des arts et des lettres du Québec
Adults who write for children have to do their homework. Listen to them. Respect their sensitivity. Believe in their intelligence. Allow them freedom of interpretation. Generate hope. These imperatives have always guided Suzanne Lebeau. She has never adapted her writing to children, considering them close to the poetry that runs through her work. But without understanding every word, children grasp the gravity, read between the lines, and know they are hearing the truth.
Suzanne Lebeau has a passion saying for what’s real and what’s true. Actor, playwright, and co-founder of the theatre company Le Carrousel along with Gervais Gaudreault, she is recognized internationally for her outstanding contribution to youth theatre. More than 25 plays translated into some 30 languages and performed on every continent attest to the universal nature and power of a body of work that pushes back the frontiers of what is permissible and possible. Whether addressing incest, child soldiers, marginality, or North-South relations, she has tackled the challenge of unflinchingly addressing difficult topics to generate awareness.
Her work has earned her many prestigious awards, but none more precious than seeing young people leave theatres with a seed of hope that will bloom in their heart. Long after they have stopped believing in Santa Claus, children will believe what Suzanne Lebeau has written for them in words thought too big for them to understand, about a world that they need to explain to adults.
The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec would like to thank the Caisse de la Culture and Le Devoir, which partnered for the award of this honour.