Sergio Kokis

Sergio Kokis, novelist and painter (b at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 6 May 1944). Kokis' tumultuous childhood led him at a very young age to a correctional institution, for vagrancy. However, he succeeded in attending l'École des beaux-arts (de Rio) while pursuing studies in philosophy. He was implicated in the 1963 opposition against the dictatorship, and sentenced for offences to national security. Fortunately, after receiving his licence in philosophy (1966), he was awarded a scholarship in French studies. Eventually, he completed a master's degree in psychology and settled in Québec in 1969, initially working as a psychiatrist at l'Hôpital psychiatrique de Gaspé. He returned to Montréal in 1970 and became a doctor in clinical psychology in 1973. Since 1975, he has worked part-time as a psychologist at l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine. As of 1973, he studied in Montreal at the Museum of Fine Arts' School of Art and Design and at the Saidye Bronfman Centre.

Since May 1997, he has dedicated himself exclusively to writing and painting. His first novel, Le Pavillon des Miroirs (XYZ, 1994) was awarded the Prix Molson from the Académie des Lettres du Québec (1994), the Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal (1994), the Prix Québec-Paris (1995), and the le Prix Desjardins from the Salon du Livre de Québec (1995). The story is autobiographical and alternates between a difficult childhood in Brazil and exile as an adult. Sergio Kokis' writing is characterized by his setting and presentation of various worlds through the use of powerful and colourful images. His second novel, Negao et Doralice (XYZ, 1995) is on a smaller scale than the first, but arouses the same keen interest. The story of tragic love between a young prostitute and a mulatto delinquent unfolds in a climate of intense political and social violence, yet the two heroes' amorous outpourings balance this. After the publication of Errances (XYZ, 1996), which was less well received due to its proliferation of scientific and philosophical digressions, Sergio Kokis wrote L'Art du maquillage (XYZ, 1997), whose hero is a Montreal painter retrained as a brilliant career forger. Un Sourire blindé (XYZ, 1998) draws its origins from the author's experience as a child psychologist. The subject of the shunting around of a Dominican child who immigrated to Montréal is treated with hard realism tinged with virulent social criticism. In 1999, Sergio Kokis combined his talents in writing and painting by publishing La Danse macabre du Québec (XYZ, 1999). Illustrations of faces of death alternate with morbid pictures and poems. Sergio Kokis is the author of an excellent novel of ideas, Le Maître de jeu (XYZ, 1999), in which theory does not restrict the dynamism and quality of the dialogue. This work emanates a rewarding reflection on evil, death and freedom.