Writer Joel Yanofsky, originally from Chomedey, passes away

Members of Montreal’s literary community were paying their respects online on Friday to Joel Yanofsky, one of Quebec’s leading English-language literary figures, who grew up in the western Laval neighbourhood of Chomedey.

Yanofsky passed away at age 65 following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was a longtime contributor to the literary and books pages at the Montreal Gazette.

Yanofsky won awards for non-fiction writing on two occasions from the Quebec Writers’ Federation for his books Mordecai & Me (an unauthorized biography of Mordecai Richler), and Bad Animals (about Yanofsky’s life with his son who had autism).

Joel Yanofsky was said to have been working on a final book – a memoir about his personal experiences in Chomedey – where at one time a significant percentage of the community was Jewish, although that number has declined significantly in recent decades.

Yanofsky was pre-deceased by his parents, Bernard and Jean Yanofsky. A sister, Renee, died in 2013, while another sister, Marilyn, passed away in 2018. He leaves behind his wife, Cynthia Davis, and their son, Jonah.