Quebec writer Nelly Arcan dies at 35

Celebrated Quebec writer Nelly Arcan was found dead in her Montreal apartment late Thursday evening. She was 35 years old.

Celebrated Quebec writer Nelly Arcan was found dead in her Montreal apartment late Thursday evening. She was 35 years old.

Arcan's first novel, Putain, enjoyed critical success when it was published in 2001. It was a finalist for both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Femina in France. It was later translated into English under the title Whore.

She quickly became a literary star in Quebec and in France.

A spokeswoman for her publishing house Coup de tête, Myriam Comtois, confirmed Arcan's death, but refused to elaborate on what might have caused it. But Montreal police said Friday they are treating it as a suicide.

Arcan had just finished writing a novel, Paradis clef en main, which was to be published by Coup de tête.

Montreal writer Pierre Thibeault worked with Arcan at the magazine Ici, and at TV's Canal Vox.

He said Friday she was the most important feminist writer in Quebec in recent years.

But, he said, the young author tended to keep to herself.

"She was a mysterious person. She was a real writer, and what I mean by that is she was not talking much about her personal life or the work she was doing. If she was writing a book she was not talking about it to people. If she was writing it, she was keeping it to herself," Thibeault said.

Arcan was born Isabelle Fortier in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

With files from The Canadian Press