Goncourt prize-winning author Patrick Chamoiseau was born in Martinique and studied law and social economy in Paris before returning to his native land and exploring the Créolité of the Antilles. In 1989 he and Jean Bernabé and Raphaël Confiant published “Eloge de la créolité” as a response to the négritude movement of previous decades, arguing that Caribbean identity came not only from Africa but also from indigenous peoples, European colonialists, and East Indian and Chinese indentured servants. His first novel, Chronique des sept misères (1986), introduced a hybrid language accessible to readers in France but also suffused with sociological symbols of créole life. In 1992 he published his most acclaimed novel, Texaco (Prix Goncourt), which recounts the sufferings of three generations of a family in Martinique. Chamoiseau has also written a series of three autobiographical works and screenplays for several films. He received the honor of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French government in 2010.
Canadian film director Philippe Falardeau was born in Hull and studied political science and international relations at the University of Ottawa. He worked in French-language radio in Canada and Paris before moving into film production. He rose to prominence already with his first full-length film, La Moitié gauche du frigo (2000), which won Best Canadian First Feature awards at both the Toronto Film Festival and the Canadian Genie awards. He has directed seven feature films, and for five of these he also wrote the screenplay. His best-known work is Monsieur Lazhar (2011), the story of an Algerian immigrant teacher helping his students through the grief of a recent suicide while dealing with his own loss. Monsieur Lazhar won six Genie awards and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Sociologist Nathalie Heinich obtained her PhD from the prestigious École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and currently serves as director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, specifically the Research Center on Arts and Language. Her work (Ce que l’art fait à la sociologie, Le Triple Jeu de l’art contemporain, Être écrivain.Création et identité, The Glory of Van Gogh. An Anthropology of Admiration…) explores what it means to be an artist and the relationship of art to contemporary society, and represents a descriptive as well as critical sociology of art. She has also written on feminine identity and emancipation, the concept of values, and the history of sociology. Her most recent publication is Dans la pensée de Norbert Elias (Paris, CNRS éditions, 2015).