Hubert Aquin was born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1929. After receiving his licentiate in philosophy from the University of Montreal, he spent three years at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and then returned to the University of Montreal where he studied for one year at the Institute of History. Aquin worked as a radio and television producer with the CBC's public affairs division in Montreal and won many awards for his work as a director with the National Film Board. A fervent separatist, he was arrested in 1964 for illegal possession of a firearm and spent four months in a psychiatric hospital where he wrote his celebrated first novel Prochain épisode/Next Episode. He went on to publish three more novels (including Trou de mémoire/ Blackout in 1965 and Neige noire/ Hamlet's Twin in 1974). He was the first Canadian writer to refuse the Governor General's Award for fiction. In 1977, at 47 years of age, he shot himself in the head in the middle-class Montreal neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grace. He is remembered as a literary martyr in the fight for Quebec independence.
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