A Man of Many Talents

Alain Stanké (Aloyzas-Vytas Stankevičius) is a Lithuanian Canadian francophone television and radio host and commentator, writer, editor, producer, interviewer and journalist. Born in Kaunas (Lithuania), he immigrated to Montreal in 1951, where he has been active in the Lithuanian community and is also known as a sculptor.

In 1998, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition for being a “multi-talented individual, who has both entertained and challenged us throughout his career”. In 2003, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.

Alain Stanké sculpture

Aloyzas Stankevičius’ father was the director of the Kaunas radio station, deported to a work camp in Germany with his family in 1944. The following year they managed to immigrate to France, where Aloyzas finished high school. After the family moved to Quebec, he studied French and worked with various newspapers, interviewing famous personalities in art, politics and literature. He also developed his artistic talent in sculpture and graphic art, and has had quite a few exhibitions.

He is also recognized in Lithuania, where the latest volume of his 3-part autobiography Tarytum pasaka (Like a Story) was published in Lithuanian (translated by Stasė Banionytė) and noticed by literary critic Vytautas Bikulčius, who recently wrote a review on LRT.lt.

Book Cover – Sculptures

The first part of the trilogy is called “Painful to Remember”, and is the story of the first days of the Soviet occupation as told by a six-year-old, which provides a new dimension in the telling of a tragic story with naiveté and a certain humour. The author maintains that every event and person described is true. In the second book, “Is There Life after War?” the author reveals that even after the war, life is still difficult. The family moves into a small apartment owned by a distant relative in Paris. Aloyzas changes his name to Alain, he wins a prize for an essay he writes in French, yet he is always treated like a foreigner. The family moves to Canada, seeking a better life. The third book describes his journey to becoming a journalist, writer, broadcaster and publisher.

Before a visit by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Aloyzas took it into his head to dress as the dictator and distribute his autographs in the street – which ended with him meeting with Castro. He also met Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi – and even published his book… and also Richard Nixon’s memoirs, earning a reputation as “the Canadian wolf” from the French daily Le Figaro. He also published American author Henry Miller’s one (short and obscure) book in French J’suis pas plus con qu’un autre (I’m No Dumber than Another). Stank was apparently the originator of the “hidden camera” comedic television show.