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Nelly Arcan

nelly arcan, nelly arcan natal
Nelly Arcan March 5, 1973 – September 24, 2009 was a Canadian novelist Arcan was born Isabelle Fortier at Lac-Mégantic in the Eastern Townships of Quebec


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Death
  • 3 Bibliography
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Arcan's first novel Putain 2001; English: Whore 2004, caused a sensation and enjoyed immediate critical and media success It was a finalist for both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina, two of France's most prestigious literary awards It contains similarities between the prostitute Cynthia in the novel and Arcan's own experience as a professional escort sex worker

Putain was followed with three more novels that established her as a literary star in Quebec and France Her second novel Folle 2004, like her first, is semi-autobiographical and scandalous, and was also nominated for the Prix Femina A third novel A ciel ouvert appeared in 2007 L’enfant dans le miroir 2007 is a coffee-table illustrated book on 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

Arcan was thin, busty and beautiful, as Linda Leith said, "Nelly Arcan’s physical presence was too eye-catching to ignore She would have turned heads on a movie set The literary set had never seen the like Picture Marilyn Monroe at the age of 28 getting short-listed for the Booker Prize and the Dublin IMPAC prize for her first novel And then writing a second novel that gets nominated for the Dublin IMPAC prize again"


Arcan was found dead in her Montreal apartment on September 24, 2009 She hanged herself She had just finished writing her last book, Paradis, Clef en main, whose narrator is left handicapped after a failed suicide attempt 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

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

Director Anne Émond's 2016 film Nelly is based on Arcan's life


  • 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


  1. ^ a b "Nelly Arcan est morte" in French Canoecom 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 2009-09-25 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Remembering Nelly Arcan", Linda Leith, The Globe and Mail, October 13, 2009
  5. ^ "Prends-moi, ou t'es mort" in French Canoeca 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 2013-09-24 
  7. ^ Ronald Martel 2013-08-12 "Place à la Médiathèque Nelly-Arcan" in French La Tribune Sherbrooke Retrieved 2013-09-24 
  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

  • Handfield, Catherine September 26, 2009 "Le suicide a toujours été son obsession" in French Retrieved 2009-09-27 
  • "Acclaimed Quebec writer found dead in Montreal" The Canadian Press September 25, 2009 

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