Words define and delight us once more at the 16th edition of the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, April 28 to May 4. Headquartered at downtown Montreal’s contemporary and cool HOTEL 10, the festival invites lit lovers of all ages to attend over 230 readings, discussions, book launches and workshops with writers from 15 countries…
Among dozens of award winning authors – such as Haitian-Canadian Montrealer Dany Laferrière, American-Uruguyan writer Carolina de Robertis, Mexican-American novelist Luis Alberto Urrea, Tunisian-born Paris-based Habib Selmi, African rising star Ondjaki, Montreal music-critic-turned-novelist Sean Michaels and more – reading and discussing all things literary at the festival this year, American author Richard Ford speaks with CBC radio host Michael Enright on stage at the Grande Bibliothèque (National Library) about his best-selling novel, Canada, winner of France’s Prix Femina Étranger. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the 1995 novel Independence Day, Ford is this year’s Blue Metropolis Literary Grand Prix winner. He also talks to Fiona Downey at Chapters/Indigo on Ste-Catherine Street.
Blue Met’s greatest asset as a festival may be its diversity. This year the festival takes us to Argentina’s Dirty War and throughout South and Latin American, to the salons of 17th century Paris, the streets of Brooklyn and beyond. The Pocket Series include events populated by zombies and confused by the issue of irony. And Best Of events pay tribute to the work of Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro, while a Shakespeare Breakfast and a Marguerite Duras Brunch keep us well fed in all ways. Canada’s popular arts, culture and literary magazine returns to the festival for The Walrus Talks event, this year featuring Giller nominee Alix Ohlin, Zoe Whittall, Jonathan Goldstein of CBC radio’s WireTap, comedian Al Rae, and many others. And the ever-popular crime writing genre includes Crime night at Librairie Drawn & Quarterlyand brings Austrian crime writer Wolf Haas (The Bone Man), Koethi Zan (The Never List), and Italian crime writer Carlo Lucarelli to town.
One of the most closely-followed culture podcasts in the US, The Culture Gabfest with Slate Magazine broadcasts live on May 3 from the Festival with hosts critic-at-large Stephen Metcalf, movie critic Dana Stevens and Slate’s deputy editor Julia Turner. Fittingly, the cocktail-party event will be held at Bily Kun, a bistro-bar on Mont-Royal Avenue known for its lively atmosphere and 5 à 7 happy hour. CBC radio’s Canada Writes competition announces the Grand Prize Winners of its 2014 CBC Short Story Prize – in English, prolific author Jane Eaton Hamilton of Vancouver, BC and, in French, writer Sarah Desrosiers of Montreal. Both will read from their work, alongside several talented runners-up, on May 3. CBC shows up at the fest in the CBC Blue Series as well, with several radio personalities, such as Eleanor Wachtel, Michael Enright, Marie-Louise Arsenault, René Homier-Roy, Paul Kennedy, Shelagh Rogers and Jeanette Kelly hosting readings and discussions with authors.
The Blue Met Children’s Festival includes over 80 activities this year in English, French, Spanish and Russian. Sit down for bilingual story hours, browse an array of curated titles at the fest’s children’s book fair, and see original illustrations from ten picture books that are part of the Les Éditions de la Bagnole private collection, all at bistro and cultural space Espace La Fontaine in the middle of Parc La Fontaine, May 3-4. More readings, workshops, performances, and arts and crafts events specifically for kids run throughout the festival at libraries and cultural centres city-wide.
Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, April 28-May 4, 2014