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‘Blue Met is about pushing boundaries’

APRIL 24-30: Here’s your Concordia guide to Montreal’s multilingual literary festival
April 7, 2017
By Cecilia Keating

Graphic Storytelling with Matthew Forsythe is just one of the events at the upcoming festival. Graphic Storytelling with Matthew Forsythe is just one of the many events at the upcoming festival.

Concordia professors, students and experts pepper the lineup of this year’s Blue Metropolis literary festival, which takes place across Montreal from April 24 to 30.

Members of the Creative Writing Program are hosting poetry readings; Matthew Forsythe, Mordecai Richler writer-in-residence, is giving a talk about graphic storytelling; PhD candidate William Robinson will perform the works of celebrated auteur game designers; and Nathan Brown, assistant professor of English from the Faculty of Arts and Science, is hosting a poetry panel discussion.

Concordia’s Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) interdisciplinary centre for research collaborated with the festival to create an event series focused on video games and how they influence narrative.

The Concordia Effect

The university’s faculty and students have participated in each edition of Blue Metropolis since its genesis 18 years ago, and this year they’re playing a larger role than ever. A new event series called “The Concordia Effect” groups together many of the events listed above and more.

Jason Camlot, associate professor of English and associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, spearheaded Concordia’s involvement with the festival this year.

“It’s an opportunity to show the larger community that Concordia is a place where literature is created, discussed and researched, in all its diversity.”

Camlot is one-eighth of the English-language programming committee for the festival. He says the diversity of Concordia’s faculty and students makes it a great fit.

“Like Concordia, Blue Met is about pushing boundaries and offering innovative programming.”

This year’s festival is spotlighting Slovenian literature, but it also features an event series dedicated to Spanish and Portuguese writing. While the majority of the programming is in French and English, 22 per cent of the events are either bilingual or in other languages.  

Blue Metropolis was the world’s first multilingual literary festival and the 2017 edition includes more than 250 events across Montreal, including several on Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus.

8 not-to-be-missed events

Graphic Storytelling with Matthew Forsythe

Author reading | Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. | D.B. Clarke Theatre (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Prior to the official start of the festival, Matthew Forsythe, Concordia’s Mordecai Richler writer-in-residence, will speak about the emergence of graphic novels and the power of illustration in stories. 

This is a free event, open to all, in conjunction with Thinking Out Loud, Concordia’s premiere public engagement series. 

The State of the Art: New Aesthetics in Game Narratives

Talk | Wednesday, April 26, 6:30 p.m. | 11th Floor Lounge, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (1515 Sainte-Catherine St. W.)

Game scholar and designer William Robinson performs the works of celebrated auteur game designers: Jason Rohrer’s Passage, Davey Wreden’s The Stanley Parable and Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia. The format is in three movements, where each game will be performed over five to 15 minutes and then discussed.

Un concept dérangeant: l’amour révolutionnaire

Round table | Thursday, April 27, 7:30 p.m. | Librarie Gallimard (3700 St-Laurent Blvd.)

Acte subversif, facteur de changement social ou ensemble de revendications politiques qui traduisent le malaise identitaire des sociétés ?

Discussion autour du concept d’« amour révolutionnaire », mis de l’avant par la Franco-Algérienne, Houria Bouteldja, militante de l’association Les Indigènes de la République.

El español, sí, ¿pero cuál?

Talk – 60 minutes | Friday, April 28, 2:30 p.m. | Librairie Las Américas (2075 St-Laurent Blvd.)

Stephen Henighan y Marie Costa, dos traductores experimentados en la traducción entre el español y otros idiomas (inglés, francés y catalán) hablan del desafío que representa la enorme variedad del español en el mundo actual, que sea nacional, regional, sociocultural, temática u otra. Preguntas en español, francés o inglés.

Is WWII a limitless source of inspiration for writers?

Talk | Friday, Apr. 28, 2:30 PM | Salle Jardin (Hôtel 10)

Douglas Babington (Bivouac Prayers), Peter Behrens (Carry Me) and David Treuer (Prudence) explore the topic of World War II in fiction, including the letters and memories that inspired their novels. Laura Dunbar, assistant professor in Concordia's Department of English, will moderate the conversation.

Le féminisme – un passage obligé?

Round table | Friday, April 28, 4 p.m. | Salle St-Laurent, Hôtel 10 (10 Sherbrooke St. W.)

Le féminisme a-t-il valeur universelle? Est-il un passage obligé conduisant à la libération des femmes ? Ne pourrait-il pas aussi être une importation de l’Occident ? Autant de questions troublantes soulevées par Houria Bouteldja, Chantal Maillé et Naïma Hamrouni.

Is the Marriage of Literature and Religion a Good One?

Panel discussion | Friday, April 28, 8:30 p.m. | Salle Jardin, Hôtel 10 (10 Sherbrooke St. W.)

Is it possible to write about God without being subject to ridicule? And how can writers address the topics of God and religion without proselytizing? These questions will be explored by panelists Gorazd Kocijancic, Amir Or, Josip Novakovich and Ariela Freedman.

The Alchemy of Poetry

Panel discussion | Saturday, April 29, 12:30 p.m. | Salle Jardin, Hôtel 10 (10 Sherbrooke St. W.)

Liz Howard, winner of the 2016 Griffin Prize, award-winning Slovenian poet Stanka Hrastelj and acclaimed Israeli poet Amir Or explore how words and the physical world come together to create a poem. This event is hosted by Concordia professor Nathan Brown.

What Does Memory Mean to a Writer from Central Europe?

Panel discussion | Saturday, April 29, 5 p.m. | Salle Jardin, Hôtel 10 (10 Sherbrooke St. W.)

A conversation with Slovenian authors Drago Jancar (The Tree with No Name, I Saw Her That Night) and Aleš Šteger (The Book of Things) and writer Josip Novakovich (Ex-Yu, Tumbleweed), a Croatian in exile. 


Check out the entire 2017 Blue Metropolis program.

Find out more about Concordia’s Department of English.



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