Montreal’s multilingual literary festival celebrates its 20th anniversary

Scores of Concordia professors take part in Blue Metropolis, earning the university's own program section
April 10, 2018

The Blue Metropolis literary festival celebrates its 20th anniversary from April 20 to 29. And this year, more Concordia faculty and students are involved than ever before.

The multilingual festival will feature more than a dozen faculty members from an array of programs at the university, including English, First Peoples Studies, Études françaises, and Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics.

For the second year in a row, the large number of Concordians participating has earned the university its own section in the program: “The Concordia Effect at Blue Met.”

Concordia is also hosting the festival’s 20th anniversary gala. The event will celebrate Blue Met’s most memorable moments and serve as an opportunity to hear students from the Creative Writing program read their work.

Concordia students in particular have had an impact on Blue Met, says Jason Camlot, associate professor of English and associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“Our students bring so much to the festival: their energy, enthusiasm and perspectives on the importance of literature and art in society and the roles it might play in the future,” he says.

“Blue Met is so unique because it presents a truly diverse, multilingual and multicultural program of literary and artistic panels, book launches, prizes and performances,” says Camlot, who serves on the festival’s programming committee.

When it began, Blue Metropolis was the world’s first multilingual literary festival. For its 20th anniversary, it will host 240 events and feature 260 authors and artists. The programming features events in 15 different languages.

Key themes this year include “Fear and Darkness,” “Spanish and Portuguese Literature” and “LGBTQ Writers.”

Here are some events you won’t want to miss!

Leyendo y Escribiendo en Latinocanadà

Round table | Friday, April 27, 10 a.m. | Librairie Las Américas (2075 Saint-Laurent Blvd.)

Hosted by Lady Rojas Benavente, professor in Concordia’s Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, this Spanish-language roundtable will cover the role of Hispanic-Canadian literature in a multicultural and pluralistic Quebec.

Blue Metropolis Festival’s 20th Anniversary Gala

Gala | Friday, April 27, 5 p.m. | Sir George Williams University Alumni Auditorium, Concordia University (1455 De Maisonneuve W.)

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Blue Metropolis Foundation and its international literary festival. Relive festival highlights and meet the 2018 prizewinners.

Periodismo narrativo, ¿género literario?

Round table | Saturday, April 28, 5:30 p.m. | Librairie Las Américas (2075 Saint-Laurent Blvd.)

Journalists from Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil will talk about the art of reporting, profile writing and narration.

Hard to Imagine: Thomas Waugh on Teaching as Activism

Interview | Saturday, April 28, 4 p.m. | Never Apart (7049 Saint-Urbain)

This event will highlight key moments in the career of Thomas Waugh. Author, Concordia professor and research chair, Waugh broke new ground around sexuality studies in Canada and inspired generations of artists and activists. He will be interviewed by Matthew Hays, a part-time professor in Concordia’s Film Studies and Journalism programs.

Blue Met Talks: On Fear/Sur la peur

Forum | Saturday, April 28, 6 p.m. | Salle Godin, Hotel 10 (10 Sherbrooke W.)

A number of writers and thinkers, including Valérie De Courville Nicol, professor of sociology and anthropology at Concordia, will shed light on the topic of fear — fear of white supremacy, fear of the Other or fear as a psychological or sociological phenomenon — in this bilingual discussion.

A Tribute to Hugh Hazelton

Homage | Saturday, April 28, 8:30 p.m. | Salle Jardin, Hotel 10 (10 rue Sherbrooke W.)

Hugh Hazelton, professor emeritus of Spanish at Concordia, specializes in comparing Canadian and Quebec literature to Latin American literature. His translation of Vétiver (2005), a book of poems by Joël Des Rosiers, won the Governor General’s Award for French-English translation in 2006.

Daniel Mendelsohn’s Odyssey: The Author in Conversation with Ariela Freedman

Interview | Sunday, April 29, 11:30 a.m. | McCord Museum (690 Sherbrooke W.)

The author of The Lost and An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic will reveal how he weaves the various strands of his life, from family and teaching to his love of the Classics, into profound and moving works. Mendelsohn will be interviewed by Ariela Freedman, an associate professor at Concordia’s Liberal Arts College.

The Gabriel Safdie Event: Jerusalem of the Mind

Panel discussion | Sunday, April 29, 1:30 p.m. | Salle Godin, Hotel 10 (10 Sherbrooke W.)

A conversation about the city of Jerusalem as a symbolic place — a city one imagines, remembers, dreams and writes about. The discussion will feature five authors, including Concordia’s Ariela Freedman.

Variaciones Andinas

Round table | Sunday, April 29, 2:30 p.m. | Librairie Las Américas (2075 Saint-Laurent Blvd.)

A discussion featuring storytellers from Peru and Ecuador who write poetry, fiction and essays, translate and compose music in Spanish, English and Quechua.

Check out the full
Blue Metropolis program.

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