Two exciting chances to
‘Get Lit’ this November
The Salon du livre de Montréal and Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair
By Janis Kirshner
Quebec’s English-language writers and publishers are getting together to present a festive season of events, showing off their wares to the general public at the Salon du livre de Montréal and at the Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair. This November, book lovers will enjoy readings by award-winning authors, a wine and cheese reception, a panel discussion and book signings, among other inspiring happenings.
For the first time in over ten years, the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ), together with the Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF), will be at the Salon du livre de Montréal at Place Bonaventure. Find English-language literary culture on display at the ‘Get Lit’ stand (# 753) from Wednesday, November 14 to Monday, November 19. The Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair takes place on Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25 for a free, two-day celebration of Quebec English-language books, in the Atrium of Concordia University’s McConnell Building.
For the first time in over ten years, the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec, together with the Quebec Writers’ Federation, will be at the Salon du livre de Montréal…
Both events offer the best in fiction, poetry, memoir, history, books for kids, graphic novels and bestsellers. Well-known local writers include Ann-Marie MacDonald, Dimitri Nasrallah, Kelly Norah Drukker and Éric Dupont, plus many others.
The Salon du livre de Montréal welcomes a diversity of voices to its annual event; this year that includes English-language writers and publishers. According to Salon Executive Director Olivier Gougeon, “If the Salon du livre de Montréal is and will continue to be the largest Francophone Book Fair and literary event in North America, it must also reflect the historical and current essence of Montreal. It was important for the board of directors and the whole Salon team to be able to offer our visitors of all ages, languages and backgrounds entertainment and readings in the language of Mordecai Richler, as well as a space where they can buy English books published here in Quebec.”
Anna Leventhal, AELAQ’s Executive Director, is thrilled to have a presence at this year’s Salon, as well as to be collaborating with QWF to present a series of events showcasing local writers. “Our publishers and their writers are part of the fabric of Montreal’s cultural milieu, so it’s wonderful to see them at the Salon du livre, which plays such an important role in the book industry here and abroad,” she said.
There are a number of not-to-miss events, including, in advance of QWF’s upcoming annual Literary Awards gala, a Meet the Finalists reception on Thursday, November 15 featuring brief readings from award-nominated titles, which are available at the ‘Get Lit’ stand.
In a nod to the rich linguistic context in which Quebec’s writers ply their craft, a Translation Slam features translators Donald Winkler, Daniel Canty, Aleshia Jensen and Jonathan Lamy transmuting the poems of Kelly Norah Drukker and Pierre Nepveu between English and French in an exciting display of creative linguistic virtuosity. Hosted by Nicola Danby, this spectacle will take place on Saturday, November 17.
It will be followed by the popular Rapid-Fire Readings, Ricochet Writing. In this fast-paced spectacle, twenty-five Quebec authors from all genres will read and write before the audience, introducing a smorgasbord of writing in two-minute bites topped by a collectively-created story unique to the evening’s event.
The final Salon du livre English-language event is Family Affair: Writers in Conversation on Sunday, November 18. Hosted by Ian McGillis, three writers will offer their takes on larger-than-life families: a fictional saga spanning generations; the real-life Molson family empire; and a timely novelistic portrait of a father-son dictatorship. Éric Dupont (whose Songs for the Cold of Heart is shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize), Helen Antoniou and Dimitri Nasrallah will read from their work and talk about capturing history, real and imagined, through family affairs.
A terrific option for Montrealers who want to shop for English-language books this holiday season is the Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair, the weekend following Salon du livre. Smaller and more intimate, this free book fair has readings and other events going on throughout, including a wine and cheese reception and book signing with special guest Ann-Marie MacDonald on Saturday, November 24.
“I’m honoured to be the featured guest at this year’s Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair,” said the actor, TV host and bestselling author of Fall On Your Knees, who is now based in Montreal. “During my first year in Quebec I was thrilled to be the inaugural Writer in Residence at the Mordecai Richler Reading Room, just upstairs from where we will be at Concordia for the Book Fair. Four years later I feel very lucky to be part of this vibrant and diverse literary community.”
The Book Fair encourages book lovers of all ages and interests to browse, buy and get books signed. “This is perfect timing for holiday gift-giving,” according to QWF Executive Director Lori Schubert, who added, “The Quebec Writers’ Federation is delighted to collaborate on the Book Fair yet again, having been involved since its inception four years ago. We’re particularly excited that it will be held at Concordia University, which has contributed to the development of so many great writers – and QWF members.” Schubert noted that with so many Quebec publishers and authors on hand, shoppers can expect hundreds of new titles for sale, “You can’t buy more local than this!”
Participating local publishers include: McGill-Queen’s University Press, Baraka Books/QC Fiction, Véhicule Press, The Secret Mountain, Howard Gontovnick, Bunim & Bannigan, DC Books, Metatron, Longbridge Books, Linda Leith Publishing, Black Rose Books, Pow Pow Press, and Metonymy Press.
Highlights of the Book Fair include author events on both Saturday and Sunday. Among the participating writers and translators will be Paige Cooper (longlisted, 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize; shortlisted, 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award; and two QWF Literary Awards nominations), Catherine Leroux (shortlisted, 2016 Giller Prize), Aleshia Jensen (shortlisted, 2018 GG Literary Award), Lazer Lederhendler, Rae Congdon, Lise Weil, David Gutnick, Klara du Plessis, Jacob Wren, Lindsay Nixon, Jason Camlot, Peter Kirby, Anne Renaud, Louise Carson, Licia Canton, and Katia Grubisic.
BONUS – QC provincial sales tax doesn’t apply to books (considered essential goods), a decision made to encourage literacy and support book publishers in the province.
SALON DU LIVRE DE MONTRÉAL
Wednesday, November 14 to Monday, November 19
Place Bonaventure, 800 de La Gauchetière W
Admission: $8 adults; free for children 12 and under; free on Wednesday
HOLIDAY POP-UP BOOK FAIR
Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25
Concordia University’s McConnell Building atrium
1400 de Maisonneuve W
For full event schedules visit aelaq.org/events/2018-holiday-pop-up-book-fair and aelaq.org/events/get-litbrilliant-books-from-quebec
Feature image: courtesy of Salon du livre
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Janis Kirshner is a respected theatre publicist. She was also co-founder of TITTERS (a female sketch comedy duo) and has co-written and performed numerous hit shows at a number of Fringe Festivals including Montreal, Halifax and Seattle, as well as the Vancouver Int’l Comedy Festival. Janis spent years on the radio as a traffic reporter, entertainment reviewer, and host of open-line talk shows.