For the week of April 18 to April 23, you’ll find a different crowd at the Opus Hotel- it’s been chosen as the headquarters for the 14th incarnation of The Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, a celebration of the best writers from all over the world…
During this week, Montreal will become a haven for writers, readers and appreciators of all genres of literature. To give you an idea of the scale of the festival, you can expect more than 200 guests and hosts from all over the world to participate in over 150 events. This year, the Blue Met‘s schedule includes book launches, interviews, readings, workshops, roundtable discussions, symposiums and the chance to see some real literary celebrities in the flesh.
Notable guests include Joyce Carol Oates (Blonde, We Were the Mulvaneys) who is the recipient of this year’s International Literary Grand Prix for a lifetime of literary achievement. Renowned novelist and political columnist, Ahdaf Soueif is receiving the Al Majidi Ibn Dhaher Arab Literary Prize and Edoardo Nesi is winning the Strega Prize for his contribution to Italian literature. Aside from recognizing some of the finest in modern literature, there are also plenty of events to enjoy like the Blue Met Children’s Festival with 60 free activities including theatre and workshops for kids.
Do you remember that movie The Breakfast Club? Well, what if The Breakfast Club was actually The Jane Austen Breakfast Club and instead of detention with a motley crew and a misunderstood redhead eating sushi, you’re with likeminded Jane Austen enthusiasts having breakfast and gabbing about the most thrilling and glorious moments in her novels. I assume the Blue Met’s Jane Austen Breakfast Salon (April 21 at 9am) will be a lot like that movie but with more Jane Austen. So go, learn about Jane Austen, yourself and fall in love. If that doesn’t work, you can try Read Dating, a Blue Metropolis literary matchmaking event modelled after the speed dating craze on April 19.
A true crime symposium is scheduled for April 18th at the McCord Museum. Will Straw (McGill) and the creator of the Coolopolis blog will discuss Montreal’s most notorious criminals and crimes. Aside from some horror stories, they will also address how the media chooses to cover and respond to crime in Quebec. If you’re a fan of Ernest Hemingway then you won’t want to miss the Lunch and Literature: Hemingway Salon hosted by his grandson, John Hemingway, at noon on April 20. You’re encouraged to pack your bag full of your favourite Hemingway books and be prepared to discuss them with Hemingway’s grandson, a writer in his own right and authority on all things Hemingway, naturally.
Who doesn’t love a good caper? Writer Joshua Knelman will speak about the phenomenon of art theft all over the world and the institutions that aim to quell it in an event called Hot Art and Montreal on April 19. Montreal’s own Sûreté du Québec is considered one of the leading art theft units in the world- so don’t get any ideas. If you love reality TV and want to know how it can make you a better person and writer, you must attend a panel discussion called Reality TV Made Me a Better Writer on April 21 at 1pm. The brilliant and hilarious author David McGimpsey and Jeffrey Oliver (producer/network executive at the Food Network) will discuss writing, reality TV and how it might just be a writers modern muse.
So go out and listen to the best writers in the world speak about their craft, and if you’d like to get involved you can hone your chops in one of the many intensive workshops the program offers. This year’s impressive lineup of world class writers reinforces Montreal’s reputation for being one of the most culturally exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world.
Blue Metropolis, April 18-23, 2012
Opus Hotel, 10 Sherbrooke West, (866) 744-6346
Blue Met Photo: Monique Dykstra