Gabrielle Roy, 1909-1983
Date of Issue
October 10, 1996
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
13.5 x 13
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Alain Leduc.
We Canadians are justifiably proud of our rich literary tradition, built as it is by great writers whose work is enjoyed throughout the world. This year, which happens to be both the bicentennial of the birth of Thomas Haliburton and the centennial of the birth of Félix-Antoine Savard, Canada Post launches a set of domestic-rate stamps to honour five of our most celebrated authors. Each of the five writers is well-known and well-loved for telling stories which have inspired us, moved us and changed us. They represent a rich contrast in Canadian voices, and yet they share an honest insight into day-to-day life that has become a central focus in Canadian literature. They also share striking originality, and the talent and courage to tell different stories different ways. Gabrielle Roy's monumental first novel, "Bonheur d'occasion", won the Governor General's Award, vaulted the new writer to instant fame, and appeared soon after in fifteen different languages. While the closest translation of the title into English might be "bargain happiness," the words eventually chosen for the English adaptation were "The Tin Flute". Set in the slums of Montreal, Roy's masterpiece explores the disintegration of the family in Quebec. Born in 1909, Gabrielle was the eleventh child in a Manitoba Francophone family. The character of the prairies and the poverty of the immigrants who sought their fortunes there had a deep influence on Gabrielle. Many critics have declared her work to speak loudly to all Canadians, no matter their language, no matter their province. In choosing a designer for this important tribute to Canadian writers, Canada Post was delighted to turn once again to Alain Leduc of Montreal, whose previous work includes the "Canada Day Group of Seven" set, (1995) and "La Francophonie" (1995). As readers can see from the images on these pages, each stamp bears a subtle computer enhanced portrait of the author based on an actual photograph. Engraved over each portrait is the opening sentence of a major work, while underneath each is a translation in smaller type. This series of five writers is a welcome addition to the Canadian tradition of honouring its best. Moreover, the international stature of the authors featured in the series is sure to attract the interest of collectors at home and around the world.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamp Details, Vol. 5, No. 5, 1996, p. 18-22.
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