Blue Metropolis Celebrates 25 Years Of Literature In All Its Forms, April 27-30

Online from April 12, special event with Margaret Atwood on April 17.

By: Mar. 16, 2023

Blue Metropolis Celebrates 25 Years Of Literature In All Its Forms, April 27-30

The future of the planet, of democracy and identities, of languages and people, and of our imaginations: this is the theme of the 2023 edition of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, gearing up to celebrate 25 years. It all kicks off online starting April 12, and culminates in a massive in-person program from April 27 to 30 in Montreal, at beautiful Hotel 10.

What will the decades to come hold for our communities, our literature, our freedoms and aspirations? Festivalgoers will have a chance to look ahead with a staggering range of author events and performances in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages such as Welsh, Ojibway, ancient Greek, and Innu-Aimun, and featuring over 200 Quebec, Canadian, and international writers, thinkers, and artists converging on Montreal. Not to miss is a pre-Festival live event with Margaret Atwood on April 17.

"We are thrilled and honoured to offer such important authors and thought-provoking events for this special 25th anniversary edition of the Festival. We now reach beyond Montreal with our extensive online programming, and eagerly anticipate the buzz of in person gatherings and lively discussions. This year, our illustrious invited writers look to the future, I can't wait to join them and share their gaze."- Marie-Andrée Lamontagne, Director General, Programming and Communications, Blue Metropolis

This anniversary edition shines a bright light on Montreal's thriving literary communities, and features local writers alongside nationally and internationally acclaimed authors.

As a very special pre-festival event, on April 17 at St. James United Church, Margaret Atwood is in conversation onstage talking about Old Babes in the Woods, her latest collection of short stories. The Festival's illustrious April 27-30 program includes a packed lineup of storied writers-Duncan Mercredi, the 2023 laureate of the Blue Metropolis First Peoples Prize; 2023 Azul Prize laureate Lina Meruane; British author Philippe Sands; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding; American-Canadian novelist Rivka Galchen; Israeli writer Yaël Neeman; French travel writer Sylvain Tesson; and 2022 Governor General-winning Anishinaabe author Eli Baxter, among many more. Michael Ondaatje, internationally acclaimed author of Warlight and The English Patient, will be recognized for his body of work with the 2023 Blue Metropolis International Grand Prize.

Not to be missed is a conversation on Leonard Cohen at the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim with writer and international law expert Philippe Sands, along with cantor Gideon Zelermyer; and a sci-fi retelling of the Haudenosaunee confederation story from Mohawk multimedia artist Skawennati, among other Indigenous events and many highlights. The Festival also presents a special evening with Blue Metropolis founder Linda Leith, a big night for the Atwater Poetry Project, local favourites Dimitri Nasrallah, Christopher DiRaddo, and Daniel Allen Cox on how Montreal is evolving, and an intimate conversation with most recent Blue Metropolis/Conseil des arts de Montréal New Horizons Prize laureates Tawhida Tanya Evanson (2022) and the 2023 winner, whose name will be unveiled on April 29th during the Grand Prix award ceremony.

The regularly sold-out Jerusalem of the Mind event returns featuring Israel author Maya Savir and Palestinian filmmaker Rami Younis, with Montrealers Carlos Fraenkel and Ehab Lotayef. This year's panel sparks questions like: What is an activist's role? A writer's? How does the current political situation affect literature in Palestine and Israel? Expect another packed Almemar series.

Meanwhile, the Book under Pressure series addresses current issues in the literary world and the book industry, while the popular Azul series features acclaimed authors Jorge Carríon, Cristina Morales and Carol Bensimon. Worth noting is the LGBTQ+ series, featuring a special Violet Hour reading event and numerous queer and trans authors, including Su J. Sokol, Festival spokesperson Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay, Laura Doyle Péan, Jen Currin, and 2023 Blue Metropolis Violet Prize laureate, playwright Michel Marc Bouchard. The Festival's series on sci-fi and fantasy draws readers into lesser-known, strange, and stimulating worlds-- queer speculative fiction, hope punk, Afrofantasy and graphic video books. The NEXT series is the most ambitious emerging artist programming yet. It focuses on English-language talent from underrepresented communities, offering workshops, carte blanche events, and podcasts featuring community leaders.

The Festival Pass is back with a twist. For $25, festivalgoers have access to the Festival's bountiful program, along with a special $25 rebate on books at Paragraphe Bookstore, the Festival's official bookseller, which will be setting up shop at Hotel 10 from April 27 to 30 inclusively.

The Festival's virtual program is really hitting its stride, with three events starting April 12: a tribute to Innu poet Josephine Bacon, winner of the First Peoples Prize; a conversation between Gioconda Belli and Claudia Piñeiro; and a discussion on capitalism and literature. The online programming kicked off in late February with the Tio'tia:ke/Montréal literary walking tour, a Strides podcast series that takes a decolonial look at Montreal. Tune in as well for a literary look at green Montreal with the Montréal vert walking-tour podcast series on April 23, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Presented in over 50 libraries, schools, Greater Montreal bookstores, and about 40 daycare centres across Quebec, the TD-Blue Metropolis Children's Festival is an every-green, year-round affair. This spring's activities will take place between April 21 and 30, with a full slate of events for the whole family on both weekends, and events exclusively for school groups during the week.

The Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival is one of the largest multilingual literary events in North America. For several days each year, writers from Quebec, Canada, and around the world converge on Montreal. Attendees are treated to live interviews, round-table discussions, public readings, debates, masterclasses, readings, and writing workshops. Every year, the Festival is built around several strong themes that bear witness to a keen social awareness and a passion for literature in all its richness.

Established in 1997, the Blue Metropolis Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to bring together people from different cultures to share the pleasures of reading and writing and encourage creativity and cross-cultural understanding. The Foundation presents the annual Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival and offers a wide range of educational and social programs year-round in classrooms, libraries, and online, using writing and reading as therapeutic tools, to encourage students to stay in school, and to combat poverty and exclusion.

Printable program available.


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