Home > Authors > View

Mavis Gallant


Mavis Gallant was a Canadian writer who spent much of her life writing in English in Paris.

In her 20s, Gallant briefly worked for the National Film Board before taking a job as a reporter for the Montreal Standard (1944–1950). While working for the Standard, she published some of her early short stories, both in the newspaper and in the magazines Preview and Northern Review.

Gallant left journalism in 1950 to pursue fiction writing full-time. She moved to Europe with the hope of being able to work exclusively as a writer rather than supporting herself with other work, and lived briefly in Spain before settling in Paris, France, where she resided for the remainder of her life. Despite residing in Paris, Gallant never surrendered her Canadian citizenship nor applied for French citizenship.

Her first internationally published short story, “Madeline’s Birthday”, appeared in the September 1, 1951 issue of The New Yorker. The magazine soon published other stories of hers, including “One Morning in June” and “The Picnic”. She did not initially know these later stories had been accepted by the magazine, as her literary agent, Jacques Chambrun, pocketed her $1,535 in royalties and told her the magazine had declined her stories, while simultaneously lying about her residence to the magazine so they could not contact her directly; she discovered that she had been published only upon seeing her name in the magazine while reading it in a library, and thus established her longstanding relationship with the magazine by directly contacting and befriending New Yorker fiction editor William Maxwell. She published 116 stories in The New Yorker throughout her career, putting her in the same league as John Cheever or John Updike. Alongside Alice Munro, Gallant is one of only a few Canadian authors whose works have regularly appeared in the magazine.

She wrote two novels, Green Water, Green Sky (1959) and A Fairly Good Time (1970); a play, What Is to Be Done? (1984); numerous celebrated collections of stories, The Other Paris (1953), My Heart Is Broken (1964), The Pegnitz Junction (1973), The End of the World and Other Stories (1974), From the Fifteenth District (1978), Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories (1981), Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris (1985), In Transit (1988) and Across the Bridge (1993); and a non-fiction work, Paris Notebooks: Selected Essays and Reviews (1986). Numerous new collections of stories from the earlier books, including The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant (1996), Paris Stories (2002) and Montreal Stories (2004), were also released in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition, a 2009 book, which was published as Going Ashore in Canada and The Cost of Living internationally, collected stories from throughout her career which were published in literary magazines but had not appeared in her earlier collections. Her “Linnet Muir” series of stories, which appeared in several of her books before being collected in their entirety in Home Truths, are her most explicitly semi-autobiographical works.

Books by Mavis Gallant

Hometruths Home Truths

Fifteenth-small From the Fifteenth District

Selected The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant

51qf3xqgvcl._aa240_ Green Water, Green Sky

Moslem The Moslem Wife and Other Stories

Bridge Across the Bridge

Productimage.aspx A Fairly Good Time

The Other Paris

Overhead Overhead in a Balloon

Pegnitz The Pegnitz Junction

Intransit In Transit



August 11, 1922


February 18, 2014