Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Professor Emeritus Norman Beaupré receives French Medal of Honor for his literary contributions


University of New England Professor Emeritus Norman Beaupré was decorated with the Medal of the Order of Arts and Literature, Grade Officier by the French Ministry of Culture and Communications.

The Order is one of the principal decorations conferred by the French Republic to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to the influence of the arts and literature internationally.

With celebrities from Céline Dion and George Clooney to William Faulkner and Rudolf Nureyev having also received this award, Beaupré is in good company.

The Consul General of France in Boston, Monsieur François Gauthier, presented the medal to Beaupré at this year's La Kermesse celebration on June 29, an appropriate venue, as Beaupré was the festival’s first president.

As a French-speaking Biddeford native, Beaupré’s subject matter frequently comes from his personal experiences as a Franco-American.

Having taught Francophone and World Literature at the University of New England for 30 years, Beaupré spent two sabbaticals in Europe where he got the inspiration for several of his books. He has written nine books thus far, with several of them drawing on the Franco-American experience. In March 2007, Beaupre was inducted in Maine's Franco-American Hall of Fame by the Maine Legislature during Francophone Week.

Beaupré’s most recent work is the sequel to his successful play La Souillonne, a one-woman story about the Franco-American experience. La Souillone, Deusse, Monologue sur Scène was published this spring by LLumina Press of Florida.

Beaupré decided to write the sequel after having seen the original play performed at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston and this past summer in Lamèque, New Brunswick to a sell-out crowd. La Souillone, Deusse focuses on vignettes about the Acadian way of life and is written entirely in the Franco-American dialect, the “language of the people,” a challenge for Beaupré since this dialect is essentially an oral language and he had to replicate the sounds into written form.

Beaupré is already at work on his tenth project, a novel based on the artistic life of Vincent Van Gogh in Arles.

For more information about Norman Beaupré and his writings, view