Roch Carrier

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Roch Carrier, OC (born 13 May 1937) is a Canadian novelist and author of "contes" (a very brief form of the short story). He is among the best known Quebec writers in English Canada.[1]

He was born in Sainte-Justine, Quebec and studied at the Collège St-Louis in New Brunswick, the Université de Montréal in Quebec, and at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France, where he received a doctorate in literature.

From 1994 to 1997, he served as head of the Canada Council. In 1998, he ran as an electoral candidate for the Quebec Liberal Party under Jean Charest, in the riding of Crémazie. He was defeated by 309 votes.

In 1991, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. From 1999 to 2004, Carrier was National Librarian of Canada. With Ian E. Wilson, the then National Archivist, he developed the process to unify the National Archive and National Library.

In 1992, Carrier's Prayers of a Very Wise Child (Prières d'un enfant très très sage) won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

Carrier championed Jacques Poulin's novel Volkswagen Blues in Canada Reads 2005.

Also involved in theatre (having served as playwright at the Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde), Carrier has adapted La guerre, yes sir! and Floralie, où es-tu? for the stage. La guerre, yes sir! was produced as a play in 1970, was performed in English at the Stratford festival, and has been made into a film. Floralie, où es-tu? was performed by Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde in 1974. The trilogy consisting of these two novels and Il est par là, le soleil sold better in English than in French.[1]

An excerpt from "Le chandail de hockey" ("The Hockey Sweater"), one of Carrier's contes, is reprinted on the back of the Canadian five-dollar bill. The story, about a young boy who orders a Montreal Canadiens sweater from the Eaton's catalogue, but receives a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey instead, is considered by many to be a literary allegory for the linguistic and cultural tensions between English and French Canadians, and is thus considered essential reading for anybody who seeks to understand the complex realities of linguistic and cultural identity in Canada. But it is also a much-beloved children's story in anglophone Canada without such complex overtones as it may have in a broader context. The National Film Board of Canada has made this story into an animated short film, narrated by Carrier in both the French and English versions.[2]

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