It’s a good thing Monique Polak has a lot of energy, because she likes to do a lot of stuff. In addition to teaching English and Humanities at Marianopolis College in Montreal, Monique is an active freelance journalist whose work appears frequently in The Montreal Gazette and in Postmedia newspapers across the country. Several of her feature stories have also been published in Maclean's Magazine.
But what Monique likes to do most of all is write fiction for young adults. She is the author of 15 novels: Flip Turn (James Lorimer, 2004), No More Pranks (Orca, 2004); On the Game (James Lorimer, 2005); Home Invasion (Orca, 2005); All In (James Lorimer, 2006); Finding Elmo (Orca, 2007); Scarred (James Lorimer, 2007); 121 Express (Orca, 2008); What World Is Left (Orca, 2008); The Middle of Everywhere (Orca, 2009); Junkyard Dog (Orca, 2009);Miracleville (Orca, 2011); and most recently, Pyro (Orca, 2012); So Much It Hurts (Orca, 2013); and the recently released Straight Punch (2014).
So Much It Hurts tells the story of 17-year-old who falls in love with an older man who turns out to be abusive. The novel was inspired by real events. Straight Punch is about a girl boxer. As part of her research, Monique began taking weekly private boxing lessons -- and she continues to box on Thursday nights.
Monique's historical novel, What World Is Left (Orca, 2008) is based on her mother's experience in a Nazi concentration camp. The book won the 2009 Quebec Writers' Federation Prize for Children's and YA Literature. The American Library Association's publication, Booklist, gave What World Is Left a starred review, describing it as "heartbreaking" and "an important addition to the Holocaust curriculum."
To watch a CTV interview with Monique and her mom, visit the CTV website. Or click here to listen to an audio clip of Monique discussing and reading from What World Is Left. Or here to check out a cool new book trailer for What World Is Left.
Flip Turn, On the Game, All In, Finding Elmo, and Scarred were all selected by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for its Our Choice lists. Home Invasion was named a Popular Paperback by the American Library Association. All In was nominated for an Arthur Ellis crime-writing prize. Resource Links included Scarred on its Best Books for 2007 list.
Monique lives in Montreal, where many of her stories are set. In addition to writing and teaching, she enjoys cooking, jogging and puttering around her house. She is married to a newspaperman and has one grown daughter.