Community Birthday Party to Celebrate Northrop Frye’s 100th birthday

The Frye Festival invites everyone to a community birthday party on July 13, starting at 11 am, to celebrate Northrop Frye’s 100th birthday at the Moncton Public Library. A BBQ and cake will be served, and there will be music as well as a poetry reading.

The Frye Festival team has been looking for a way to commemorate Northrop Frye permanently for many years now. “We’re finally able to celebrate Frye’s literary heritage by giving him a special, permanent place in front of the Moncton Public Library,” says Dawn Arnold, Chair of the Frye Festival. “This public art will serve as a daily reminder of the role Frye played in the evolution of Canadian literary criticism and in Moncton’s thriving cultural community.”

Northrop Frye at home!
The Frye Festival will officially unveil the life-size bronze sculpture of Northrop Frye in front of the Moncton Public Library (Downing St. entrance). Frye will be sitting on a park bench with an open book on his lap. All are invited to come have a seat with Frye and see the work of art that commemorates Moncton’s most famous son.

A donation worth more than $40,000 to the Moncton Public Library
Before the unveiling of the sculpture, the Frye Festival in collaboration with the New Brunswick Public Library Service will announce a major donation by Robert D. Denham to the Moncton Public Library. Professor Emeritus at Roanoke College in Virginia, Robert D. Denham is donating his complete collection of books and objects that belonged to Northrop Frye, along with Frye’s manuscripts, first editions of his books and many other works that feature Frye.

“The New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation, the New Brunswick Public Library Service, and the Moncton Public Library would like thank Dr. Robert D. Denham, the foremost Northrop Frye scholar in the world, for his generous donation of one of the largest Northrop Frye collections,” says Sylvie Nadeau, Executive Director of New Brunswick Public Library Service. “This eclectic collection includes signed editions of Frye’s works including first editions, paintings and caricatures depicting Frye, audio-visual materials featuring Frye and other treasures that both researchers and the public will enjoy. A highlight of the collection is Frye’s own writing desk and chair from the upstairs room in his Toronto home, which will join Frye’s typewriter at the library. The value of the donation has been appraised at over $40,000. I would like to thank the Frye Festival organization and the Board of the Moncton Public Library for their key role in facilitating this donation.”

The Robert D. Denham Collection will be housed in the Heritage Room at the Moncton Public Library, and it will be accessible to the public. A part of the Collection will be displayed on July 13 in the lobby of the library. Professor Denham will also be on location to meet with people.

The event will also include a reading by Moncton poet Serge Patrice Thibodeau (in French) of a poem that was recently published in a special edition of the University of Toronto Quarterly dedicated entirely to Northrop Frye.

Robert D. Denham
Robert D. Denham is the Fishwick Professor of English, Emeritus, Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. From 1986 to 1988 he was Director of English Programs and Director of the Association of Departments of English for the Modern Language Association. For twenty years prior to that he taught English and chaired the department at Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia. Denham became interested in Frye’s work in 1965 when he read Anatomy of Criticism, and he subsequently devoted much of his professional life to writing about Frye’s work. As author, editor, or compiler, he has published 26 volumes by or about Frye, devoting fifteen years to transcribing, editing, and annotating eleven volumes of The Collected Works of Northrop Frye. Denham retired from teaching in 2004 and currently lives in Emory, Virginia, in a home that he and his wife Rachel, a retired professor of art, built themselves. His two children are both academics, his son a professor of German and his daughter a professor of linguistics.

Bronze sculpture of Northrop Frye: the artists
The Frye Festival has commissioned three local artists to create a life-size bronze sculpture of Northrop Frye. The commission was awarded to Darren Byers and Fred Harrison of Byers Harrison Studios Inc. who collaborated with Janet Fotheringham.

Darren Byers has worked as a furniture maker for over 25 years and as a sculptor for the last 18 years, producing commissions and private work throughout North America and Fred Harrison has worked on many murals throughout Canada. In April 2011 Darren and Fred completed “The Workers Memorial” in Saint John, a larger than life size bronze monument to honour anyone who has suffered physical or mental injuries or who has died while on the job in the greater Saint John area. Janet Fotheringham has extensive experience in molding and casting and has been doing life sculpture since 1996. This is the first time that all three artists have collaborated.

About the Frye Festival
The Frye Festival is Atlantic Canada’s largest literary happening. The annual event takes place at the end of April, though the organizers also present many events throughout the year. This celebration of Northrop Frye’s 100th birthday concludes the Festival’s 2011-2012 season. Events will start again in the fall, kicking off with the Festival’s annual Community Read. Information about the Festival and its mission is available at