If you live in the Moncton area, or are looking for an excuse to take a road trip, check out the Frye Festival/Festival Frye from April 22 to April 28. In its 14th year, it is the country’s only bilingual literary festival (and Atlantic Canada’s largest literary festival).
This year Frye Fest is showcasing 30 renowned and budding, regional, national and international authors (who combined boast 40 literary award wins and nominations) in 50+ events, from music and reading showcases, roundtables, book clubs and workshops to school visits, a trivia night and family activities. Many of the events are either free or pay what you can.
“This year, I think what’s most impressive about our line-up is that each and every writer in his own right is just a fantastic storyteller and a really, really strong writer,” Danielle LeBlanc, the festival’s Executive Director, eagerly shares. “All of the books that are featured in our program are some of the best books that came out in 2012 and to put all of these amazing writers together on one stage is just providing fantastic opportunities for Atlantic Canadians to come and meet these people and share ideas and just get talking about books…”
Just some of the highlights of this year’s Festival Frye include Kidsfest (which features Mascot Palooza, readings, a giant cake, family fun activities and is jointly celebrating the Moncton Public Library’s 100th Birthday); the Maillet-Frye Lecture, which will be delivered by Allister MacLeod, followed by a Q&A hosted by CBC’s Michael Enright (tickets are going fast); and events like Soirée Frye and Frye Jam are combining author readings with music, including acts such as Montreal’s Leif Vollebekk and New Brunswick’s Les Hay Babies.
“If someone is looking for a chance to get to know an author for an intimate look at the writing process and how a book came about, then I would recommend the book clubs,” says LeBlanc. “They’re one-on-one conversations with a featured author and we just invite everyone to come and meet the author. Even if you haven’t read the book, it’s a good way to discover what the book is about and then maybe go out and buy it.”
LeBlanc adds that something different they’re doing this year is “No Such Thing as an Uninteresting Life”—a combined breakfast buffet and talk led by The Globe and Mail obit writer, Sandra Martin. LeBlanc is also thrilled that through the festival’s School Youth Program, authors will make a combined total of 130 school visits which equates to reaching about 10,000 students in five days.
LeBlanc explains that as a bilingual festival, authors will participate in the language in which they write, and that this year there is about an equal representation of English and French authors. Simultaneous translation will be provided for a number of events, including Friday night’s “A Window to the World/Une page ouverte sur le monde.” “That night is featuring four past GG [Governor General’s Literary Award] winners,” says LeBlanc. “It’s going to be very interesting because all of these people wrote about outside Canada. So we have Peter Behrens who wrote about Ireland, Kim Thúy who wrote about Vietnam, Perrine Leblanc’s book takes place in Russia and Marq de Villiers, who is a non-fiction writer, writes about all over the place, but mostly Africa.”
For more information on Festival Frye’s schedule, participating authors and more, visit: www.frye.ca