Blue Metropolis Literary Festival 2017
Blue Metropolis Literary Festival 2017


Montréal’s 375th anniversary
A World of Literature to Explore

Montreal, March 20, 2017 – It’s one of the first signs of spring: Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival unveils the much-awaited line-up for its 19th edition, announcing writers from around the world… and around the corner. The Festival will take place from April 24 to 30, at HOTEL10 in downtown Montreal.

Our stellar list of prizewinners includes internationally acclaimed Indian author Anita Desai, who accepts the 2017 Blue Metropolis Grand Prix in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement, in a ceremony at the Grande Bibliothèque and in conversation with the CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel; Francisco Goldman receives the 2017 Premio Metropolis Azul for a work that explores Spanish-language culture; Ojibwe writer David Treuer takes home the 2017 Blue Metropolis First Peoples Literary Prize and joins CBC Radio’s Duncan McCue in an interview; Cameroonian-American author Imbolo Mbue accepts the 2017 Blue Met Words to Change Prize; and Chinese-Canadian writer Xue Yiwei receives Blue Met’s Literary Diversity Prize for a First Publication, for Shenzheners, his first work published in English. Other Canadian writers include Barbara Gowdy, launching her new novel, Little Sister, in conversation with Heather O’Neill; Charlotte Gray delivers the Hugh MacLennan lecture with her personal take on Canada at 150; Alexandre Trudeau (Barbarian Lost) speaks about China and Cuba; Rosemary Sullivan (Stalin’s Daughter) and Marc Raboy (Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World) discuss biography; and seasoned performer and storyteller Ivan Coyote (Tomboy Survival Guide) makes an appearance in The Violet Hour. We also welcome Alex Shoumatoff, former writer for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, on his latest book, The Wasting of Borneo: Dispatches From a Vanishing World; renowned Israeli poet Amir Or; prize-winning Palestinian-Australian playwright and poet Samah Sabawi, co-author of the ground-breaking Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas; and acclaimed Slovenian novelist Drago Jančar.

19 Years of Interviews, Encounters, Readings, Performances and Special Events
Over the last 19 years, Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival has become one of Montreal’s most popular and most frequented literary events. Last year, 60,000 attendees enjoyed our hundreds of events, including interviews, performances, and round-table discussions, and our 2017 edition is slated to equal or surpass that record attendance.
This edition, we encounter the vibrant literature of Slovenia, with a special delegation of four poets and a novelist: Aleš Šteger, Miljana Cunta, Gorazd Kocijančič, Stanka Cafuta Hrastelj and Drago Jančar bring their Central European perspective to several round table discussions and readings. Our Focus on Poetry brings together a number of poets from here and abroad, including 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize winner Liz Howard as well as three Scottish performance poets: Rachel Amey, Harry Giles and Deaf poet Noel Paul Scott, who present Code Switch, a performance piece created specifically for Blue Met. Our Spanish and Portuguese series includes roundtables on Venezuela and Cuba, as well as events celebrating the ever-versatile taco and how to save the planet through entomophagy (by eating insects!). Aislin discusses a half-century of cartooning with Matt Zimbel; there’s an homage to poet, critic and editor Carmine Starnino; a round table that sheds light on the art of ghost writing; another that reveals the double-edged craft of authors who work as translators, and a discussion on the European obsession with the Wild West! A must-see event: Writer’s Perspective – Whither the USA, when four of our 2017 prizewinners expound on writing in the time of Trump.

New and Blue
In a brand new series called Babel Blue we invite poets and novelists to read their work in their language of origin, so get ready to hear a whole slew of languages (with English and French thrown in to the mix, of course!). On Friday, April 28, we have a special Babel Blue featuring poetry, along with fine wines from Quebec and Canada. Another new theme, Blue-Violet Metropolis, introduces The Naughty Bits Book Club: a late-night performance of illicit and explicit passages from great novels. Gaming & Literature explores video games and how they influence narrative, in collaboration with Concordia University’s TAG (Technoculture, Art and Games). In fact, we have a whole new and improved collaboration with Concordia, under the guidance of poet and professor Jason Camlot, which means that this year you’ll see the university’s experts, professors and students playing a significant role at the Festival. We’re calling it the “Concordia Effect” and we’re already reaping the benefits!
This year, inspired by the festivities surrounding Montreal’s 375th anniversary, Blue Metropolis Literary Festival presents seven events that will focus on the culture, diversity and history of Montreal. Events that are guaranteed to draw a curious and discerning audience!

Back and Better Than Ever
Women and Words returns, featuring a number of women writers in the vanguard, including prize-winners Anita Desai and Imbolo Mbue; the formidable and feminist Denise Donlon, author of As Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances); a well-deserved tribute to novelist, short-story writer and journalist Ann Charney; and a discussion on powerful women and the end of matriarchy. Our ever expanding LGBTQ Series presents The Violet Hour, readings that take place in a strip club (during the off
hours) in the Gay Village, as well as a one-on-one interview with author and drag queen Sky Gilbert (Sad Old Faggot), and panel discussions on the past, present and future of Queer Lit. Our MAC Series is back, with Feminicidio No More, which looks at violence against women, surrounded by the work of Mexican artist Teresa Margolles. Bloomsday Montreal returns, with its Finnegans Wake Reading Group, a Ulysses Q & A, and the ever-popular Tour of Irish Montreal. The Almemar series features Francisco Goldman and David Treuer on Culture, Kinship and the Written Word; Joel Dimsdale (Anatomy of Malice) in conversation with Stephen Toope; and emerging author Ariela Freedman (Arabic for Beginners). And not to be missed, This Really Happened offers a star-studded line-up of storytellers with their true tales of unexpected and life-changing experiences! Not to mention our award ceremonies, launches, workshops and exhibitions.
In addition, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly returns as our official bookstore for the 2017 edition and will offer all books at a 10% discount throughout the Festival.

The Blue Metropolis Children’s Festival and Foundation
This year, the TD-Blue Metropolis Children’s Festival celebrates its 10th year! For readers between 0 and 12 years old (parents accompanying their children are welcome), the Festival offers 129 events, including storytelling events and readings held in libraries, cultural centres, and bookstores throughout Greater Montreal.
Blue Metropolis Festival and its events are the flagship of the Blue Metropolis Foundation, dedicated to education, literacy and integration. With events throughout the year, its educational and social programs help fight poverty, violence and exclusion. So far, the Foundation’s events have reached over 17,700 students in 15 of Quebec’s 17 regions and in 8 of the 10 Canadian provinces.

Check out all of the Festival’s events, taking place from April 24 to 30 at HOTEL10 in downtown Montreal. See the full line-up of 2017 events at bluemetropolis.org.
Blue Met 2017 in Figures
• 250 events – 119 for adults, 129 for children
• For the entire Festival (including the TD Children’s Festival) 56% of events are in French; 34% in English; 10% bilingual or in other languages
• For the adult festival 52% of the programming is in English; 26% is in French; 22% is bilingual or in other languages (Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Portuguese, Slovenian)
• 301 writers or participants from 11 countries, including Germany, Brazil, the US, Israel, Cuba, Scotland, France, Slovenia, Italy, Venezuela and the UK.

Blue Metropolis at a glance
Blue Metropolis Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997 that brings together people from different cultures to share the pleasures of reading and writing, and encourages creativity and intercultural understanding. The Foundation produces an Annual Literary Festival of international calibre and offers a wide range of educational and social programs year-round, both in classrooms and online. These programs use reading and writing as therapeutic tools, encourage academic perseverance, and fight against poverty and social isolation.

About the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary
The Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary is a non-profit organization whose mission is to organize the celebrations and socioeconomic contributions that will mark Montréal’s 375th anniversary in 2017. With a focus on promoting Montréal expertise, it acts as a catalyst for local forces in carrying out its mandate: to mobilize the community, implement a funding strategy, rigorously manage public funds, develop quality programming and ensure the visibility of the celebrations.
The Society benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal, the Québec government, the Canada government and private funding from 12 Great Montrealers. For more information, see http://www.375mtl.com

About Monika Spolia

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