Cultural Rendez-Vous: Montreal Literary Events to Mark

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Promenade littéraire with the BAnQ

Saturdays at 1:30 PM, Various neighbourhoods

In collaboration with Tours Kaléidoscope, the Bibliothèque et Archives national du Québec ­offers guided walking tours of the neighbourhoods that inspired some of Montreal’s most iconic literature. May 27, the BAnQ’s own environs and Carré Saint-Louis take the spotlight, while June 3 is dedicated to Saint-Henri, the backdrop to Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute, and June 10 explores the setting of Michel Tremblay’s Plateau Mont-Royal Chronicles. While the tours are free, reservations are ­required, as places are limited. www.banq.qc.ca

Blue Metropolis Festival

April 24 to 30

Anita Desai, Photo: Jerry Bauer

Anita Desai, Photo: Jerry Bauer

Is reading a poem in translation like kissing a woman through a veil? Or taking a shower with a raincoat on? Montreal’s multilingual ­literary festival has over 250 events to help you contemplate this question and many others.

Perhaps best known for attracting literary greats, the Blue Met delivers once more with a program that includes Barbara Gowdy, Alexandre Trudeau, and Charlotte Gray, among many others — not to mention its line-up of prizewinners: 79-year-old postcolonial luminary Anita Desai receives the International Literary Grand Prix at the BAnQ April 29, while award-winning author Francisco Goldman, Ojibwe ­linguist David Treuer, celebrated newcomer Imbolo Mbue, and Chinese-Montrealer Xue Yiwei all take home prizes of their own.

Blue Met organizes its events under broad banners, as the festival truly does have something for everyone, from the sacred (Dieu, Littérature et Sociétés) to the profane (Bleu nuit), for old and young (over 100 events for kids), and celebrating storytelling in all its forms, whether it be poetry, games, oral traditions, or nonfiction. Other tracks include LGBTQ Writers, Women & Words, The MAC Series, and Literary Performances, where you can hear writers read their work in their own language(s) — or perhaps you’d prefer an event like Code Switch, featuring authors working in English, Scots, and British Sign Language. In addition to English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese literature, Slovenian writers take the spotlight in the Surprising Slovenia track.

And as for translated works? Translation: An Act of Faith (Traduire sans trahir in French) brings together authors and translators such as Catherine Leroux, whose latest novel, The Party Wall, won GG awards for both French literature and translation. “It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation,” said Salman Rushdie. “I cling obstinately to the notion that something can also be gained.” bluemetropolis.org

Mile End Poets’ Festival / Resonance Reading Series

April 4, 8:30 PM, Café Resonance

The Mile End Poets’ Festival closing event takes place at Café Resonance and features an illustrious line-up of Canadian poets including Jason Camlot, Moez Surani, Brecken Hancock, Elena Johnson, and Marianne Apostolides. Curated by poet Klara du Plessis, the Resonance Reading Series takes place the first Tuesday of each month and “aims to be inclusive and unbiased toward a single style, yet favours writing that embraces the contemporary [and]is not confined by traditional definitions of literature.” www.resonancereadingseries.com

Garry Thomas Morse, Photo: Ralph Kolewe

Garry Thomas Morse, Photo: Ralph Kolewe

The Atwater Poetry Project

April 27 and May 11, 7 PM, Atwater Library

This poetry series connects local and international poets with audiences each month for readings, often followed by Q&A sessions. On April 27, join Montreal-based author, comedian, violinist, and cabaret artist Norman Nawrocki along with Garry Thomas Morse, award-winning author of Discovery Passages, and indigenous radio darling Janet Rogers. May 11, Sue Sinclair and Nick Thran will take the mic. www.atwaterlibrary.ca

Montreal Anarchist Book Fair

May 27 and 28, 10 AM – 5 PM, Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier

Booksellers and zinesters from across Quebec and North America will meet in St-Henri for the 17th edition of the Montreal Anarchist Book Fair, which in addition to vendors, includes art, films, kids’ events, and workshops on topics ranging from parenthood to police violence and every social topic in between. www.anarchistbookfair.ca

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About Author

A lover of words, literature, music, and culture, Clark makes her home in Montréal where she enjoys going to libraries and museums, playing flute, guitar, and ukulele, and sewing and DIY projects. She is currently section editor of La SCENA at La Scena Musicale. / Passionnée de la culture et surtout des mots, de la littérature et de la musique, Rebecca Anne Clark habite à Montréal où elle aime aller aux bibliothèques et aux musées, jouer la flûte traversière, la guitare, et l'ukulélé, et aussi la couture et le bricolage. Elle est actuellement rédactrice arts de La SCENA à La Scena Musicale.

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