Blue Metropolis to showcase Indigenous authors with Q-and-A session May 8

·3 min read

The upcoming Blue Metropolis literary festival will celebrate a return to in-person programming by highlighting, among others, a pair of Indigenous authors.

The festival will get underway today with virtual events, with live events, including those involving Indigenous authors Eden Robinson and Tomson Highway.

Robinson and Highway will appear together in a question-and-answer discussion May 8 at Noon at the Grand Bibliotheque de Quebec, one day after the two will be recognized for their work.

Robinson will receive an award live at the McCord Museum in downtown Montreal May 7 at 1 p.m., while Highway will be similarly honoured the same way at 2:30 p.m. Admission for both events is $10.

Robinson will receive the 2022 Blue Metropolis First Peoples Prize, presented in partnership with the Indigenous Voices Awards for the first time. Awarded to an established Indigenous author, the Prize recognizes Robinson for her body of work, including her collection of short stories, Traplines, and the three novels of the Trickster series.

Festival associate director of programming David Bradford said Robinson’s “compelling” work highlights the battle against oppression and “dazzling” stories about magic in a world that may not quite understand it.

“We are thrilled to welcome Haisla/Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson as this year's laureate of the First Peoples Literary Prize, presented in partnership with the Cole Foundation and, for the first time ever, Indigenous Voices Awards (IVA),” Bradford said. “Eden was selected as this year’s recipient of the First Peoples Prize by an all-Indigenous jury that consisted of Liz Howard, Dallas Hunt and Deanna Reder, who chose the Trickster series author on the basis of her considerable contribution to the Canadian literary canon, for her compelling characters who work to find their own power and fight their oppressor, and for her dazzling stories about magic in a dangerous world.”

Highway will be honoured for his “pioneering” work highlighting stories of fighting against adversity and subsequent survival.

“In the wake of the author's recent memoir, Permanent Astonishment, it's an honour to welcome Cree two-spirit author Tomson Highway as the 2022 laureate of the Violet Literary Prize, presented by Air Canada,” Bradford said. “Tomson was selected by a jury of his LGBTQ+ peers that consisted of Dionne Brand, Trevor Corkum and Suzette Mayr. The Prize celebrates Tomson's contributions as a pioneering LBGTQ+ playwright, novelist and nonfiction writer who brings to life invaluable stories of adversity, survival, self-making and kinship. As part of the Prize ceremony, Tomson will be interviewed by Ange Loft, an interdisciplinary performing artist and initiator from Kahnawake Kanien'kehá:ka Territory now working in Tsi Tkarón:to.”

The awards will be presented live at the McCord Museum in downtown Montreal May 7 at 1 p.m., while Highway will be similarly honoured the same way at 2:30 p.m. Admission for both events is $10. The award ceremonies will include a short word from Jonathan Lainey, curator, Indigenous Cultures, at the McCord Museum, and will be followed by an onstage interview with the laureate and book signing.

The Blue Metropolis Literary Festival will begin with online and virtual events tomorrow. Visit www.bluemetropolis.org for more information.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase

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