Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk contacted NALD’s Honorary Chair Roch Carrier recently with an important notification.
The astronaut informed him that, while aboard the International Space Station for six months last year, he had with him a copy of Mr. Carrier’s book Le Chandail de Hockey (The Hockey Sweater).
Dr. Thirsk explained to Mr. Carrier that he was able to take a small number of personal objects with him in space.
“This space flight was a personal thrill and the highlight of my professional career,” he said, “and since astronauts are advocates for literacy, I chose to fly (with) a copy of your book Le Chandail de Hockey. This book is a classic within our national culture and you are a great Canadian author.”
Mr. Carrier considers this gesture by Dr. Thirsk to be a supreme honour and consequently plans to pursue the bond they have established between them.
“I welcome the idea of astronauts becoming advocates for literacy,” he said.
Background on Dr. Robert Thirsk from the Canadian Space Agency:
In 2009 Bob Thirsk became the first Canadian astronaut to fly a long-duration expedition aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He and two crewmates launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on May 27 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. When their Soyuz vehicle docked with the nearly complete Station two days later, the ISS became home for the first time to a permanent crew of six.
As members of the ISS Expedition 20/21 crew, Bob and his five international crewmates performed an unprecedented amount of multidisciplinary research, complex robotic operations, and maintenance and repair work of Station systems and payloads. Following the undocking of his Soyuz spacecraft from the Station and landing back in Kazakhstan on December 1, Bob Thirsk had lived and worked in space for another 188 days during this second voyage to space.
Bob Thirsk is a strong promoter of a Canadian economy based upon exploration and innovation. He encourages young Canadians to build their dreams upon a solid educational foundation and advanced skills.
About Mr. Carrier:
Roch Carrier is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Stephen Leacock Medal. He holds honorary doctorates from the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick, York University in Toronto, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, and Bowling Green University in Ohio.
From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Carrier was director of the Canada Council for the Arts, after which he turned his focus to travel, studying and writing. In 1999, he became Canada’s fourth National Librarian, a position he held until 2004. He has been honorary chair of the National Adult Literacy Database (NALD) since 2005.
Several novels written by Mr. Carrier are considered classics and are used in schools and universities around the world, in both French and English. Some have been translated into foreign languages. He has also written plays that have been produced both in Canada and abroad.
NALD contact and article writer:
Research and Communications Officer
Tel: 506-462-5034 or toll-free 1-800-720-6253