It Rained All Weekend OR Why I Didn’t Care Because The Blue Met Literary Fest Was Here

May 5, 2014

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It rained all weekend.

But I didn’t care. Because my two favourite days in the city – aside from the only two during which the roads are smooth – had finally arrived.

Montreal’s impressive Blue Metropolis Literary Festival consumed me, yet again.

I’m currently working on a series of blog posts relating to new (and old) authors, ideas, experiences, and cool books (and to whom I’d recommend them) BUT, until then, I wanted to offer some highlights from the past few days.

  • Editing maverick, Douglas Gibson, presenting his Storytelling show about great Canadian authors he has worked with from Hugh MacLennan to Alistair MacLeod to Alice Munro.
  • Kevin Barry – a hilariously insightful, Irish writer, discussing his newest book, City of Bohane, while explaining how he maintains dignity during the walk of shame (not the walk of shame your mind just jumped to – stay tuned for that story).
  • Just watching Richard Ford speak. That’s right. Watching.
  • Hearing Italian crime writer, Carlo Lucarelli, discuss the perils of sausages during the Mile End Crime Night.
  • Understanding that Madeleine Thien should have been on my reading radar a long time ago.
  • Listening to Aislin (Terry Mosher) – who I’m sure would have rather been watching the Habs game – but who had enough humility not to show it – alongside art historian, Dominic Hardy, discussing the history of irony in Quebec political cartoons. Brilliant.
  • Israeli author, Eshkol Nevo, Skype-ing in to discuss his newest book. Its predecessor, Homesick, was one of my favourite reads on contemporary, Israeli life over the past few years. Aside from David Grossman’s To The End of the Land.
  • Hearing the other perspective from Professor Emeritus of McGill’s Islamic Studies department, Issa J. Boullata, as he recounted what it was like living in Jerusalem under the British occupation, in his new memoir, The Bells of Memory.
  • The ULTIMATE for Book Dumpling –meeting my three favourite podcast hosts (Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens and Julia Turner) from Slate Magazine’s hugely listened to podcast, Culture Gabfest. At Bily Kun. My favourite bar. While giving them personalized book recommendations. My inner nerd was on full display as I told Dana (Slate’s film critic) that this was like meeting George Clooney. She looked a little sad for me.
  • The REAL ULTIMATE – listening to the live taping of Culture Gabfest during which aforementioned erudite-yet-lively hosts discussed topics ranging from the sleeper hit show, Orphan Black, to an Alice Munro adaptation, to Heidegger, to Canadian philosophers. The segment ended with music critic, Carl Wilson, discussing his book, Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste (a reissue of what’s being hailed as a modern classic), and how he really wanted to hate Celine Dion. But couldn’t. Whole story coming on that.
  • Understanding that Metcalf’s wife, Koethi Zan, was the same Koethi Zan whose first book, The Never List, I’m both excited (and petrified) to read. She read on Friday night at the always-lovely Drawn & Quarterly bookstore on Bernard (along with Lucarelli and Austrian writer, Wolf Haas – whose witticisms alone need their own Twitter account).
  • Jonathan Goldstein’s book I’ll Seize the Day…Tomorrow.
  • Realizing I couldn’t clone myself to hear Katharina Hagena or Heather O’Neill.

I’m looking forward to capturing the unpretentious celebration of literature that the Blue Met always delivers.

Until then, try and check out some of these names. They’re worth it. 


  1. In terms of being literature savvy, your topics made me feel dumb as a rock. I am so far from where I once was. I closed my eyes and pointed to your point form list and the finger landed upon Alice Munro. I have been guilty of confusing her with Susanna Moodie, an author whose books I did not enjoy in the least. Thanks, Dumpling. I will pick up a copy of Ms. Munro’s work.

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