The son of a scrapyard dealer, Mordecai Richler was born and raised on St. Urbain Street in Montreal. Richler enrolled in Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) to study English but dropped out before completing his degree. He moved to Paris at age 19 and lived there for several years before moving to London, England. He returned to Montreal in 1972.
Richler’s career took off with the 1959 publication of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Throughout his career, Richler wrote acerbic journalistic commentary. Among Richler’s many awards and honours was a 1990 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Richler was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2001, just a few months before his death in 2001.