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Bookin’ it across the land

By Archives April 8, 2008

The Montreal Blue Metropolis Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary by celebrating readers and writers who find inspiration on the road. The festival takes place from April 30 to May 4, and this year, it focuses on the journeys that writers must take, literally and imaginatively in order to produce their work.
The festival will feature a series of on-stage interviews, talks and panel discussions in English, French and Spanish with writers from all over the world. The international community is strongly represented this year with writers from Egypt, the Netherlands, China and Russia.
International issues are being voiced through a partnership with Reporters without Borders and Media@McGill at Writers in Peril, a line-up of on-stage conversations and panel talks focused on freedom of expression. In Montreal to participate will be exiled Iraqi poet Saadi Yousef, who will also receive this year’s Blue Metropolis Arab Literary Prize in recognition of a lifetime of work. Yousef will be awarded the $5,000 prize during a special ceremony. An Arabic interview will follow.
This year’s Grand Prix will be bestowed on internationally renowned French writer Daniel Pennac. He has published novels, non-fiction and children’s books. His work has been translated into 30 different languages. Pennac recently won the 2007 Prix Renaudot for Chagrin d’École.
The festival is not only about hearing from established literary professionals. There are workshops open to the public for those who wish to develop and improve their writing abilities. Blue Metropolis will host a series of creative writing ateliers where participants can work their writing with an established talent from a specific field.
The workshops offered are: fiction writing with Glenn Patterson of Belfast, who has published seven novels; poetry with Susan Gillis, author of two poetry books and winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry; travel writing with Binyavanga Wainaina, who wrote a piece on Nigeria for National Geographic magazine. The fourth workshop goes one step further by teaching the art of pitching a feature film with Gerald Wexler, winner of a Genie award for best screenplay for Margaret’s Museum.
All the workshops require registration prior to April 15 and cost $85, which includes lunch.The festival’s complete program will be published online on April 8, and will be available at Olivieri bookstore at 5219 C