Celebrating 25 years! Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival

This spring, the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival will celebrate 25 years. Three eminent spokespersons, all well-established literary authors, have been selected for this edition, which promises to be outstanding. The 25th anniversary Festival will launch on March 22, 2023, with online events gradually made available (bluemetropolis.org/). The live, in-person Festival will take place from April 27 to 30, 2023.

The 25th anniversary theme is the future: the future of borders, the future of democracy, the future of literature, the future of identities, and the future of the planet. Not for nostalgia, but with curiosity, vigour, an appetite for knowledge, debates, books, and diverse voices—emerging, experienced, dissonant, disturbing, necessary.

“It is important to toast this significant occasion while looking resolutely towards the future,” said Blue Metropolis Executive Director, Programming and Communications, Marie-Andrée Lamontagne,  “Judging by current events, the future of the planet and of humanity may seem worrying, but it is also something to be nurtured. Literature, writers and books enrich the debate; they can even influence it.”

Actor and writer Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay is known for her role in the film Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau, and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress—a first for a trans woman in Canada. Boulianne-Tremblay published a collection of poetry, Les Secrets de l’origami (Del Busso Éditeur, 2018) and has written for several magazines including Lettres québécoises, Estuaire and Moebius. Her first novel, La fille d’elle-même (Marchand de Feuilles, 2021) the first French-language autofiction written by a trans woman in Québec, won the Prix des libraires du Québec for fiction. Her most recent book is La voix de la nature (Héritage Jeunesse, 2022). La fille d’elle-même will be translated as Dandelion Daughter (Véhicule Press, March 2023) and will be published in Europe with JC Lattès (France) in spring 2023. 

“It is a privilege to be a spokesperson for this very special 25th anniversary edition alongside two fabulous authors,” said Boulianne-Tremblay. “My previous participation in this festival left me with precious friendships. The Festival provokes unexpected yet hoped-for encounters, brings together people from diverse backgrounds and goes beyond linguistic borders; values so dear to my heart.”

Author and journalist Monique Polak has published 32 books for young readers. In 2021, she won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (previously called the QWF Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature) for her novel, Room for One More, which is set in Montreal during World War II. She won the same prize in 2014 for Hate Mail, and in 2009 for What World Is Left, a novel inspired by her mother’s childhood experience in a Nazi concentration camp. The French translation of this book, Vois tout ce qui te reste (tr. Rachel Martinez, Septentrion) was released in 2022.  Many of her books have been nominated for awards, including the Arthur Ellis Best Juvenile Crime Award. Polak taught at Marianopolis College for 35 years. Her stories have been published in the Montreal Gazette and in Postmedia publications across the country. She was also a columnist on ICI Radio-Canada’s Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!

“I have been in the audience every year since the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival first started. In the early years, I was an aspiring author, more than a little awestruck by the authors I met there,” said Polak. “You can imagine my delight when I was invited to the Festival to share my own work. Every single year I am energized and inspired, and still awe-struck by the people I meet and the literature to which I am introduced at this amazing world-class event. No wonder that for book lovers like me, this is my favourite week of the year in Montreal. It’s not only a great honour to be a spokesperson for this year’s Festival; it’s also a huge pleasure.”

David Bradford is a poet, translator and editor based in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal). He is the winner of the A.M. Klein QWF Prize for Poetry, the Griffin Poetry Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Gerard Lampert Memorial Award finalist, for  Dream of No One but Myself (Brick Books, 2021), an interdisciplinary inquiry into the versioning aspects of Bradford and his family’s histories with abuse and trauma. His work has also appeared in BrickPrairie FireThe Fiddleheadfilling StationThe Capilano Review; and elsewhere. Bottom Rail on Top, Bradford’s second book of poetry, and House Within a House, his translation from the French of Désormais, ma demeure by Nicholas Dawson, are both forthcoming from Brick Books in 2023.

It is meaningful for Bradford to represent this 25th edition of Blue Metropolis. “First as a reader, then as a writer and literary programmer, it’s been inspiring to see the Festival grow and thrive with the times, always providing a stage for big, truly literary conversations about the challenges before us. And to see writers and thinkers empowered in the process,” he said.

Twenty-five years ago, when she created the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival along with a few others, Linda Leith wanted to bring cultures and languages together through literature, beyond the usual divides. Even then, Blue Metropolis was looking to the future; 25 years later the adventure continues.

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