Roch Carrier, a novelist, playwright and children’s author, is one of Québec’s most loved and widely read writers. 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. His first novel La guerre, yes sir!, is a post-colonial novel set in a village of Québec during the conscription crises of the Second World War (1968), and today, it is still one of the most widely studied literary works by a French-Canadian
Carrier wrote the story in French, and it first appeared in 1979 under the title “Une abominable feuille d’érable sur la glace” (“An abominable maple leaf on the ice”) in a collection of his works called Les Enfants du bonhomme dans la lune (Children of the Man in the Moon). It appeared in an English translation by Sheila Fischman the same year as part of an English collection of Carrier’s work called The Hockey Sweater and other stories. It has since been republished in numerous anthologies of Canadian and hockey literature.
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.
A quote from Carrier’s Canadian classic The Hockey Sweater/Le Chandail de Hockey is on the back of Canada’s five-dollar bill and reads: ‘The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places—the school, the church and the skating rink—but our real life was on the skating rink.’
Happy Birthday Mr. Carrier!