This year UNESCO named Montreal the “World Book Capital 2005-2006,” and the people at Blue Metropolis couldn’t be more pleased with the title. The Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival is in its eighth year here in Montreal. Performers of a brief spoken word piece presented at the foundation’s press conference chanted, “Montreal is the city of poets.”
The organizers of the Blue Met festival are very proud of their Montreal roots. The mandate of their festival is to celebrate writers, publishers and translators who have lived in, or written about, Montreal.
The festival will run for five days at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Montreal, as well as other venues around the city. Literary fans can purchase tickets to a variety of events taking place during the five week run. Festival goers will be exposed to everything from readings by professional authors, to workshops on how to develop writing skills.
Blue Metropolis is a multilingual festival and organizers are proud to have a long list of visitors from all around the world presenting at this year’s events. The theme of this year’s edition of Blue Met is “The City of Words,” and founder Linda Leith said she was pleased to announce there would be presentations made not only in English and French, but in Spanish, Yiddish, Creole, and other languages as well.
Leith, who founded Blue Metropolis with two other Montreal writers in 1997, said she feels the literary festival is “a model of innovation and openness.” She’s pleased with the expansion and diversity of the festival’s audience and considers the public’s response to be an indication of Blue Met’s “growing importance on the literary scene.”
Montreal writer, Michel Tremblay, will be awarded this year’s Grand Prix Literary 2006 award. Tremblay will be the guest of honour at the opening night ceremony on Wednesday April 5.
Because of Tremblay’s significant contribution to the Montreal cultural scene, both in French and English, organizers of Blue Met felt he was the perfect candidate to receive this award. The Grand Prix has a value of $10 000 and is awarded to a writer with a lifetime of literary achievement.
Michel Tremblay will be giving two stage interviews at the festival. The French interview will be held on Friday April 7 at the Hyatt Regency, and the English interview will take place on Saturday April 8 at the same location.
Other events at this year’s festival include: a reading with Spanish poet Tomas Segovia, a literary tour of Italy and the launch of an anthology of Italian Canadian literature, features of Middle Eastern writers, and a showcase of aboriginal work.
There will be a series on comic strips, a discussion on the portrayal of sports in literature with Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury, a series on science writing, and multimedia/film presentations and workshops.
Many books will be launched during this year’s Blue Met festival, and authors will be on hand to sign copies of their work.
Writing workshops will also be held for those with the inclination to pick up the pen themselves. Professionals in the field will offer their experienced advice to writers who are just starting out.
Most events cost between $5 and $15, while others are more expensive. A booklet of coupons can be purchased at a reduced rate and the coupons can be put towards the cost of entry into any festival event.
The festival program will be made available mid-March at Nicholas Hoare, Olivieri and Las Americas bookstores. A copy of the program will also be inserted in the Saturday March 25 issues of Le Devoir and The Gazette.
For more information on the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival visit: www.bluemetropolis.org or call (514) 937-BLEU