This year's theme: Le pouvoir des mots [The power of words]. This comes through strongly in the emphasis on the children's portion of the festival, promoting literacy and the culture of reading in youngsters. (I'll see if I can get my daughter to attend an event and report on it.)
The 2012 programming for the main festival has a couple main areas of focus. One is Cuban literature, and the other is crime writing.
The 2012 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix winner is Joyce Carol Oates, who, coincidentally, has a large body of crime-related novels. She will be awarded the prize at a special event on Saturday, April 21. (I have not read any Joyce Carol Oates. Where do you recommend I start?)
(Past winners include some of my favourite writers: A.S. Byatt, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster.)
- Read Dating (literary speed-dating)
- Collaboration with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (several events will be held at the Grande Bibliothèque)
- Shoe Stories, a fundraising event (books! and shoes! — two of my favourite things!)
- Read & Ride, a cross-promotion with the Société de transport de Montréal, encouraging the use of public transportation, so you can read on your commute
For those of you who are unable to attend, I will be blogging the festival, so you can live it vicariously through me. I'll have access to several events and festival participants. So let me know if you have an interest in a particular event and I'll see about attending it for you. (For those of you who are able to attend, well, maybe we can compare notes.)
Finally, I'm excited to announce that I'll be hosting a Lunch and Literature event: A Georges Simenon Salon, at noon on Sunday, April 22. Held in the Koko Restaurant, the event itself is free but the purchase of lunch is required.
If you've ever read Simenon — whether his romans durs or his Maigret novels — please come out for lunch and contribute to the conversation. I've nurtured a mild obsession with Simenon since I first discovered his romans durs about a year and a half ago, and I'm curious to know what other readers see in him.
Sadly, I cannot attend the panel discussion on translating David Foster Wallace (Scott Esposito is on the panel), as it conflicts with my Simenon lunch.
You can find full program details on the festival's website (which has been given a long overdue facelift).
Also check out Programming Director Gregory McCormick's blog, Azure Scratchings, for more festival-related news and commentary.