Festival Bloomsday Montréal
11th edition starts June 11

Bloomsday is the day Joyce’s hero, Leopold Bloom, takes a walks around Dublin

June 9, 2022

For James Joyce, 11 is the number of renewal and so it is for Festival Bloomsday Montréal, with in-person events honouring the great writer, his groundbreaking novel Ulysses, and Irish culture in Montreal.

Joyce used Homer’s Odyssey as a template for his novel. But Joyce’s odyssey occurs on just one day, June 16, 1904, when his hero, Leopold Bloom, takes a walk around Dublin, Ireland, meeting and greeting, eating and drinking, laughing and crying. He also attends a funeral, pops into a maternity ward, visits a brothel, where he dresses as a woman and submits to domination, and returns home in the wee hours to fall asleep next to his wife. But she is wide awake and takes the reader on another odyssey as thoughts and memories flit through her mind.

Joyce used Homer’s Odyssey as a template for his novel. But Joyce’s odyssey occurs on just one day, June 16, 1904,

Every chapter is an adventure and a puzzle, like levels in a video game, with challenges progressively increasing in difficulty and dramatic shifts in style. Bloomsday is celebrated in over 60 cities around the world with concerts, parades, historical tableaux, art exhibits, readings, and more.

Festival Bloomsday Montréal - GhostwalkSaturday, June 11

Festival Bloomsday Montréal starts Saturday morning with a Haunted Montreal walking tour led by Donovan King. Then at 2 pm, Irish Ambassador to Canada, Eamonn McKee, talks online about the history of Bloomsday and this momentous year, the 100th anniversary of the publication of Ulysses. A gourmet meal and cooking class at Appetite for Books in Westmount rounds out the day. Click here to register.

Sunday, June 12

On Sunday, at 11:30 am, indulge in another meal, a brunch at the Burgundy Lion with their extensive selection of Irish whiskeys. In person only. Click here to reserve your spot!

At 8 pm, at the Unitarian Church in Westmount, 5035 de Maisonneuve West. there will be a gala performance of music and words with the Canadian premiere of Thomas de Hartmann’s suite of songs composed of words from Ulysses, paired with the reading of a fun one-act play, an imagined conversation between James Joyce and Marcel Proust. Lifelong Westmounter, playwright and actor Arthur Holden will play Proust to John Hernan’s Joyce. Performing a musical work by de Hartmann has special significance this year since he was born and educated in Ukraine. Click here to register.

Monday, June 13

This day is devoted to a more scholarly exploration, especially the soundscape Joyce creates with vivid description, onomatopoeia, scads of musical references, and the sound of the spoken word.

From 10 am to 12 pm at McGill (680 Sherbrooke Street West 10th floor), a morning academic panel entitled Joyce: Tantalizing the Mind’s Ear will feature scholars Benjamin Wenzelberg (remotely from Boston), Geraldina Mendez, Andre Furlani, and Peter Stockland (in-person). Click here to reserve your spot.

From 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, a panel entitled, Many Minds Make Light Work: Ulysses Reading Groups Around the World, will feature Elizabeth Salerno remotely from New York, and Kevin Wright and Jamie Salomon, both in person, at McGill (680 Sherbrooke Street West 10th floor). Click here to reserve your spot.

From 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, inspire your inner Joyce and join a creative writing exploration led by Louise Cauchon, at McGill (680 Sherbrooke Street West 10th floor). Click here to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, June 14

The Cutting Edge: Creation, Innovation, Carving a Path: (2 pm): participants will hear from the festival founder, David Schurman and this year’s spotlight writer, poet and multi-disciplinary artist, Rachel McCrum. The man behind the magic, Bloomsday Montreal founder, David emerges to take stock of the Festival in its eleventh year. What was the spark? What has it made possible? What more can it contribute to the cultural life of Montreal?

Montreal Writer’s Spotlight. This year’s featured writer is poet and performer, Rachel McCrum. Originally from Northern Ireland, Rachel was the first BBC Scotland poet in residence. Now based in Montreal, she has performed and taught poetry and performance in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. In workshops she fuses theatre, poetry, and visual arts, granting participants the space and time to speak unabashedly for themselves. Her first poetry collection is published in a bilingual edition (English and French). It has been described as “providing a soulful yet defiant collection of structures, sounds and voices.” Hear Rachel in conversation with our new Joyicity editor, Samara O’Gorman.
Online only. Click here to register.

Wednesday, June 15

The jaunty fiddling of Archetype Trad harks back to the Celtic roots so many Quebecers share at Westmount Baptist Church, 411 Roslyn (at Sherbrooke). A rousing evening of foot-stomping tunes by Kate Bevan-Baker and Émilie Brulé will also feature a special guest and a collection of funds for the people of Ukraine. In person and online. Click here to register.

Thursday, June 16

In the Westmount Room, Westmount Library (4574 Sherbrooke Street West), Joyce enthusiasts dip into the great work with dramatized readings of some favourite passages from Ulysses, hosted by Kevin Wright, from 11:00 am to 12:35 pm. In-person and online. Click here to register.

Also, from 1:35 pm to 4 pm, join us for more readings, including our annual closer, Molly Bloom’s reverie, read by Kathleen Fee. In-person and online. Click here to register.

caricature of Joyce and Proust - WestmountMag.ca

Caricature of Joyce and Proust by Craig Morriss

Caricatures of Joyce
by Craig Morriss

Friend of the Festival Craig Morriss will once again be exhibiting his brilliant and delightful caricatures of Joyce and his modernist milieu for our festival via a special page on his website.

This year, his book will also be available for purchase at a selection of Festival Bloomsday Montréal events.

Please note that in-person events have capacity restrictions. For more information, visit Festival Bloomsday Montréal’s website.

As always, the last word goes to Molly Bloom. “yes, i said yes i will yes”.

Images: courtesy of Festival Bloomsday Montréal

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