Johanne Mercier


Johanne Mercier is the author of our Arthur books, a series of early readers featuring a seven-year-old boy and his adventures at his grandparents' house in the country with his somewhat eccentric family.

Johanne wrote her first novel at the age of eight, a novel which was never published but which she has treasured. She never doubted that one day she would publish a “real” novel...

As an adult, she went into education. Working from school to school, she immersed herself in the world of childhood. She decided to take part in a writing competition for news for young people, and she won first prize. As a result, an editor for a publishing company asked her to write her first novel for children.  She submitted Le Blond des cartes to him, a collection of short stories. This was her big break.

While continuing with her education, she wrote a second novel for young people, L’été des autres, a finalist for the Governor general’s prize in 1991.

She then entered what was very productive period: she started a family, wrote other novels for children and picture books for toddlers, and went fitted in a bit of travelling too.

A trip to Italy inspired her novel “Le coq de San Vito”, a rich story aimed at children aged ten and above. A novel which reveals Johanne Mercier’s intelligent humour and talent, she knows how to dazzle the reader, making them laugh and taking them on a journey.

Wacky revelations

What type of child were you at school?
I was rubbish at sport. Maths gave me stomach ache, but I adored writing essays. And here I am now.

Tell us one of your biggest mistakes?
Believing I could ski down a slope standing on my skis. I’ll let you guess the rest...

What is your best memory of reading?
All Pennac, all Schulz, all Ajar and recently, Anna Gavalda.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Everything. I can say 400 times a day: what a nice idea for a novel!

When and why did you decide to commit yourself to children’s’ books?
Me, I decided that?

What would you like to say to your readers?
Be curious and have fun!

A little irrelevant question to finish with- what is your favourite meal?
My mother’s meringue cake, and parmesan cutlets made by my boyfriend, who would make me sorry if I said something else...

Johanne's biography and interview is translated and adapted from her own words in French that can be found on her Québécois pubslisher's website.