Born in Lebanon in 1968, Wajdi Mouawad grew up in France before moving to Quebec with his parents in 1983. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada in 1991, Mouawad established the theatre Ô Parleur together with Isabelle Leblanc, which he co-directed from 1990 to 1999. While staging several adaptations and dramatizations, Mouawad also presented his own texts to the public. In 1998, Willy Protagoras enfermé dans les toilettes (Willy Protagoras locked up in the toilets) was selected as the bestproduction in Montreal by the Quebec Association of Theatre Critics. That same year the playright had a huge success in Limoges, in France, with Littoral, of which he directed a film version in 2004. This play also earned Mouawad the Molière Award for best Francophone Playwright, a prize he refused on the grounds that theaters should do more to read the manuscripts presented to them.
Littoral was the first of a quartet focussing on the topics of war, memory and personal heritage, followed by Incendies (2003) and Forêts (2006). From 2000 to 2004, Mouawad was artistic director of the Théâtre de Quat’Sous de Montréal. In 2005, he joined forces with Emmanuel Schwartz to establish two companies dedicated solely to new creations, one in Quebec, Abé Carré Cé Carré, and the other in France, Au Carré de l’hypoténuse.
In 2007, the playright became artistic director of the French Theatre of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. In parallel to his brilliant career as playwright, Mouawad has also published a novel, Visage retrouvé (2002), and written texts for the radio and newspapers.
During the 2007-8 season, Mouawad worked with Espace Malraux in Chambery, where he created notably Seuls.
In July 2008 Mouawad presented this play at the Avignon Festival, where he served as associate artist in 2009. In 2010, Mouawad adapted Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire at the Odeon Theatre in Paris, and played in Albert Camus’ Les Justes alongside Emmanuelle Béart at the Théâtre de la Colline, also in Paris.
Mouawad has been awarded numerous prizes, amongst which The Quebec Association of Theatre Critics Prize for best production in Montreal, for Willy Protagoras enfermé dans les toilettes (1998), the Governor General’s Literary Award (2000), and the Jacqueline-Déry-Mochon Prize (2004). He was made Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters bestowed by the French government (2002), and received a Molière for best Francophone author for Littoral (2005).