A three-time winner of The Governor General's Award, she is best known for Le Tombeau des rois, published in 1954, and Kamouraska, published in 1970. Her other works include Les songes en equilibre (poems) and Le temps sauvage (play).
Her writing was deeply affected by two tragic events: the 1943 death of her thirty-one-year-old poet cousin, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau, and the 1952 death of her sister, Marie.
She initially could not find a publisher for her poetic masterpiece, Le Tombeau des rois, so she paid for the work's publication herself.
She was the daughter of Maurice Hébert, a literary critic and poet.
She was born one year after fellow Canadian author and literary prize winner Saul Bellow.