Réjean Ducharme, "the 'invisible' author who helped shape Quebec literature and theatre in the 1960s," died August 21, the Montreal Gazette reported. He was 76. Ducharme "found success at 25 with the publication of his first novel, L'avalée des avalés, in France by the prestigious Éditions Gallimard, the third publishing house he had approached. It was later translated into English under the title The Swallower Swallowed."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "We have lost a giant of literature--all of us touched by Réjean Ducharme's work mourn his passing and celebrate his tremendous legacy."
A playwright and lyricist as well as an author, Ducharme won the Governor General's Award for L'avalée des avalés in 1966 and was nominated for the Goncourt Prize in France. He earned a second Governor General's Award in 1982 for a play titled Ha ha!. He wrote film screenplays and anonymously wrote the lyrics for multiple songs by Robert Charlebois and Pauline Julien. His last novels, Dévadé, Va savoir and Gros mots, were published in 1990, 1994 and 1999, respectively. In 2000, Ducharme was appointed an officer of the Ordre national du Québec.
Upon its 50th anniversary in 2016, the publication of L'avalée des avalés was designated a "historic event" by the government of Quebec, under the Cultural Heritage Act, "joining a list of significant events in the history of Quebec, such as the arrival of the Filles du roi in New France, the signing of the Treaty of Paris and the Second World War," the Gazette wrote.