April 18, 2013

Festival turns over a new leaf

MONTREAL — Write on!

Blue Metropolis, Montreal’s premiere multilingual literary festival, once again brings writer and reader together for its milestone 15th edition beginning Monday. More than 100 workshops, author meet-and-greets, lectures, talks, master classes and book launchings will be featured.

Greg McCormick, Blue Met’s programming director, says he’s quite pleased to hit that important 15-year mark and plans to celebrate in a big way.

“We have a pretty big program this year,” he said. “We try to shoot for events that are diverse so that we can appeal to all kinds of audiences, no matter what your interest.”

McCormick said this year’s festival topics will highlight traditional literary stars; include a series that explores ecology, sustainability and literature; and even give a nod to baseball and beer.


At the top of this year’s Blue Met list are a number of notable literary awards. The Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix has been awarded to Irish writer Colm Toibin, whose acclaimed works include “The Story of the Night,” “The Master” and “The Testaments of Mary.” Colm will be awarded $10,000 at a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Grande Bibliotheque (Montreal’s main library) at 475 De Maisonneuve Blvd. E.

Toibin joins an illustrious group of past Blue Met grand-prize laureates who include Norman Mailer; Michel Tremblay; Margaret Atwood; and last year’s winner, Joyce Carol Oats.

Toibin was chosen from an independent jury that works together with the Blue Met Foundation. The confirmation was as simple as McCormick sending Toibin an email. Toibin graciously accepted. 

“He emailed me back quite quickly and said he was very happy to be coming back to Montreal,” McCormick said. “He hasn’t been here in a number of years.”

This year also marks the seventh year of awarding the Al Majidi Ibn Dhaher Blue Metropolis Arab Prize, which, this year, is awarded to American/Libyan author Hisham Matar. 

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