After moving from the Trois-Pistoles region to Montréal, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu started his journalistic career when he began to work for the weekly Perspectives as a columnist (1966-1976), and as a freelance writer for other publications. In 1967, he attracted attention with the eighteen-page essay "Hugo social, Hugo politique, Hugo philosophe et religieux et Hugo purement littéraire" that won the Larousse-Hachette prize. During his prolific career, several other essays would be published including Pour saluer Victor Hugo (1971), Jack Kerouac (1972), Monsieur Melville (1978), Seigneur Leon Tolstoï (1992), Voltaire (1994), Écrits de jeunesse (1996), and Chroniques du pays malaisé (1996). Further, Beaulieu would breathe new life into neglected Québécois writings in his Manuel de la petite littérature du Québec (1974). Notable among his recent essays are James Joyce, l'Irlande, le Québec et les mots (2006), La Reine-Nègre et autres textes vaguement polémiques (2010) and Ma vie avec ces animaux qui guérissent (2010).
At the same time, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu pursued his career as a radio writer, and was often a guest literary columnist.
Outspoken, and with a keen view of society that was not lacking in humour, he knew how to cast a glance at the literary world and the media that was scathing but always fair. Victor-Lévy Beaulieu's legendary and colourful personality was carefully woven and dictated by his words.
His pen shifted to fiction when his literary career was launched in 1969 with his first novel Mémoires d'outre-tonneau. Beaulieu loved combining diverse writing styles and transcending their usual limits. Blanche forcée (1976) is a narrative; N'évoque plus que le désenchantement de ta ténèbre, mon si pauvre Abel (1976) is a lament; Sagamo Job J (1977) is a hymn; La Tête de Monsieur Ferron (1979) is a humorous epic. By 2010, Beaulieu's fictional output numbered seventy novels including L'Héritage : L'automne (1987); L'Héritage : l'hiver (1991); Bouscotte, le goût du beau risque (2001); Bouscotte, les conditions gagnantes (2001); Bouscotte, l'amnésie globale transitoire (2002); Je m'ennuie de Michèle Viroly (2005); La grande tribu, c'est la faute à Papineau (2008); and Bibi (2009), one of three works shortlisted for the prestigious French literary award, the prix Décembre. Several very popular television series were derived from his novels: Race de monde, L'Héritage, Montréal P.Q., Bouscotte, and Le bleu du ciel.
Victor-Lévy Beaulieu also worked in the field of publishing. During his time at Les Éditions du Jour as literary editor (1969-73), he hastened to build the collection Répertoire québécois. In 1973, he founded his own publishing house, Les Éditions de l'Aurore, which was followed by Éditions VLB and finally by Les Éditions Trois-Pistoles.
Victor-Lévy Beaulieu's masterful work has earned many awards. He received the Grand prix littéraire de la ville de Montréal for Les grands-pères (1972); the Governor General's Award for Don Quichotte de la démanche (1975); the prix France-Canada for Monsieur Melville (1979); and the prix Jean-Béraud Molson for Satan Belhumeur (1981). Two awards that were his crowning achievements were the prix Ludger-Duvernay (1982) and the prix Belgique Canada (1982). Between 1988 and 1990, his television drama L'Héritage won the PRIX GÉMEAUX for best dramatic writing and the prix Annik from Radio-Canada for best drama series. He was awarded two more prix Gémeaux: one for Montréal P.Q. (1996) and the other for Bouscotte (1997). In 2001, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu received the prix Athanase-David, and in 2007, he won the prix Spirale-Eva-Le-Grand for his monumental work on James Joyce. On November 7, 2011, Victor Lévy-Beaulieu was awarded the esteemed prix Gilles-Corbeil from the Fondation Émile-Nelligan for his body of work.
Author MYRIAM FONTAINE