Writers Descend on Moncton for Frye Festival

Writers Descend on Moncton for Frye Festival

The 6th annual Northrop Frye International Literary Festival kicks off on Tuesday April 19th with a special emphasis this year on aboriginal writing.

Authors from around the world will gather in Moncton, New Brunswick from April 19 to 24. Many of those participating are aboriginal writers and storytellers, hailing from across Canada, the United States and New Zealand, including Witi Ihimaera, author of the award-winning novel Whale Rider.

“We are gaining an international reputation among authors and publishers as a leading literary event,” said Dawn Arnold, chair of the Festival’s Board of Directors.

Festival Passes are available at the Capitol Theatre box office, 811 Main Street, Moncton or by calling the Capitol at (506) 856-4379 or 1-800-567-1922. Pass prices: $35 adults, $20 students/seniors. Children under 10 free.

The Festival has grown over the years and become less dependent on government subsidies by building strong relationships with private sector sponsors.

“The organizing committee has succeeded in diversifying the funding, which will help ensure the long-term sustainability of this event,” said Festival vice-chair Mario Thériault.

The official opening of the Festival is Thursday, April 21 at the Delta Beauséjour Hotel in Moncton. But the opening will be preceded by several events, starting Tuesday, April 19 with a panel discussion at Mount Allison University in Sackville involving Witi Ihimaera, Catherine Anne Martin, Herménégilde Chiasson and Serge Patrice Thibodeau.

Another roundtable will be held Wednesday, April 20 with authors Yves Sioui-Durand, Jean O’Grady and Maurizio Gatti at the Université de Moncton, following the annual Northrop Frye conference.

The Writers in the Schools Program, sponsored by Aliant, also kicks off Wednesday, April 20, running until Friday, April 22 in many schools in the Greater Moncton area.

“Aliant is pleased to support initiatives like the Festival’s Writers in the Schools Program which have a lasting positive influence on Atlantic Canadian youth,” said Nicole Gallant, Aliant’s Regional Manager for Southeastern New Brunswick.

“The impact of the direct interaction between Festival authors and elementary and high school students is enormous. In many cases this will be an opportunity of a lifetime, to meet and be inspired by the best in their field.”

Among the other highlights of the Festival programme is a concert on Wednesday April 20 by TAIMA, an Inuk-French Canadian duo comprised of Elisapie Isaac and Alain Auger. It will be held at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre.

Singer, songwriter and poet Zachary Richard will perform Thursday, April 21 during the Festival’s official opening. The evening will also feature readings and the Northrop Frye Literary Competition Awards.

CBC Moncton’s Information Morning will offer special radio coverage of the Festival on Friday, April 22 while Radio-Canada’s Anne et Compagnie will broadcast live from the Moncton Market on Saturday, April 23 as part of the Festival’s first annual KidsFest.

Herman Northrop Frye was born July 14, 1912 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He was seven years old when he moved with his family to Moncton, New Brunswick. He attended Victoria School and Aberdeen High School, graduating in 1928 near the top of his class, not quite 16 years of age.

In 1929 Frye left Moncton to study at the University of Toronto, where he remained as student and teacher most of the rest of his life. His mother died in Moncton in 1940 and is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Northrop Frye’s book Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake appeared in 1947 to great acclaim, and many powerful and influential books appeared over the next four and a half decades, including Anatomy of Criticism (1957), The Educated Imagination (1963), The Bush Garden (1971), The Great Code (1982), and Words with Power (1990). He won the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-Fiction for his book Northrop Frye on Shakespeare (1986).

As a teacher and educator Frye’s impact was profound and far-reaching, both in Canada and abroad, an impact that continues to be felt today. In Frye’s own words teaching is the “social crusade of delivering the student from the blinkers of social prejudice.”

He helped shape the way a whole generation imagined and thought about Canada lecturing at over a hundred universities around the world, while always maintaining his allegiance to the University of Toronto and to Canada. He received many awards and honours including over 30 honourary degrees.

In the fall of 1990 Northrop Frye made a last, memorable visit to Moncton, giving talks at Moncton High School and at L’Université de Moncton to overflow audiences. He died in Toronto in January 1991.

For more information about the Festival, including author biographies, visit www.northropfrye.com.