Nelly Arcan

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Nelly Arcan
Nelly Arcan ctv.jpg
BornIsabelle Fortier
March 5, 1973
Lac-Mégantic, Quebec
DiedSeptember 24, 2009 (aged 36)
Montreal, Quebec
OccupationWriter
NationalityCanadian

Nelly Arcan (March 5, 1973 – September 24, 2009) was a Canadian novelist. Arcan was born Isabelle Fortier at Lac-Mégantic[1] in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Biography[edit]

Arcan's first novel Putain (2001; English: Whore (2004)) received immediate critical and media attention.[2] It was a finalist for both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina,[3] two of France's most prestigious literary awards.[4] It contains similarities between the escort Cynthia in the novel and Arcan's own experience as a professional escort sex worker.[4]

Putain was followed with three more novels that established her as a literary star in Quebec and France.[2] Her second novel Folle (2004), like her first, is semi-autobiographical and provocative work,[2] and was also nominated for the Prix Femina.[4] Her third novel, A ciel ouvert, was published in 2007. L’enfant dans le miroir (2007) is a coffee-table illustrated book about beauty. Arcan had recently completed her fourth novel Paradis clef en main (2009; English: Exit (2011)) when she committed suicide. She also wrote several short stories, opinion pieces and columns for various Quebec newspapers and literary magazines.

Death[edit]

Arcan was found dead in her Montreal apartment on September 24, 2009.[3] She hanged herself.[4] She had just finished writing her last book, Paradis, Clef en main, whose narrator is left handicapped after a suicide attempt.[1] She had attempted suicide previously. On September 3, 2009, three weeks before her death, Arcan published a story in her weekly column in the Quebec French-language weekly Ici magazine entitled "Prends-moi, ou t’es mort" ("Take Me, or You're Dead"), detailing an experience with a stalker.[5]

She is buried in Québec's Eastern Townships. Lac-Mégantic's municipal library, assembled from many of the over a hundred thousand books donated after fire destroyed the original library during 2013's Lac-Mégantic derailment, is named « La Médiathèque municipale Nelly-Arcan » in her honour.[6][7][8]

Director Anne Émond's 2016 film Nelly is based on Arcan's life.[9]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Putain (2001; English: Whore, translated by Bruce Benderson, 2004).
  • Folle (2004) (English: Hysteric, translated by David Homel & Jacob Homel, 2014).
  • L'enfant dans le miroir (2007).
  • À ciel ouvert (2007; English: Breakneck, translated by Jacob Homel, Anvil Press, 2015).
  • Paradis, clef en main (2009; English: Exit, translated by David Scott Hamilton, 2011).
  • Burqa de chair (2011; English: Burqa of Skin, translated by Melissa Bull, Anvil Press, 2014).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nelly Arcan est morte" (in French). Canoe.com. September 25, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c 2010 Britannica Book of the Year, pp. 114–115, "Arcan, Nelly"
  3. ^ a b "Quebec writer Nelly Arcan dies at 35". CBC News. September 25, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d "Remembering Nelly Arcan", Linda Leith, The Globe and Mail, October 13, 2009
  5. ^ "Prends-moi, ou t'es mort" (in French). Canoe.ca. September 3, 2009.
  6. ^ "La Médiathèque municipale Nelly-Arcan prête pour l'automne" (in French). Écho de Frontenac, hebdo de la région de Lac-Mégantic. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  7. ^ Ronald Martel (August 12, 2013). "Place à la Médiathèque Nelly-Arcan" (in French). La Tribune (Sherbrooke). Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  8. ^ Médiathèque Nelly Arcan, announcement of May 5, 2014 grand opening (en français)
  9. ^ "Anne Émond et les fantômes de Nelly Arcan". Huffington Post, September 29, 2015.

External links[edit]