Sunday, April 24, 2005

Montreal, UNESCO World Book Capital

As of this weekend, the city of Montreal is the World Book Capital for an entire year.

The idea is a UNESCO initiative that each year marks the contribution of a major international centre to the development and dissemination of literature and of a reading culture, not only locally and regionally, but on a worldwide scale.

The program was launched in 2001. So far, Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003) and Antwerp (2004) have had the honour of receiving the UNESCO designation.

There will be numerous popular and scholarly activities over the next 12 months, as well as promotional initiatives to reach people wherever they may be.

Some of the highlights:

  • L'autre Montréal, an urban collective that organizes theme-related tours of the city, will offer a literature tour showcasing the economic, social and ideological history of the city's print industry, bookstores and libraries and offering visits with well-known and less well-known French, English and immigrant authors.
  • Given the importance of children's literature in the Quebec book industry, the Château Dufresne Museum is hosting the 100% Audace exhibit this summer about children's book authors and illustrators in cooperation with the International Youth Library in Munich, the world's largest collection of kids' literature.
  • Accents graves Québec will create 12 "listening posts" throughout the city where the public will be able to listen to recorded messages and readings from local authors.
  • Rhizome Productions will produce 60 book quiz-style promos to be shown in all Montreal movie theatres.
  • An outdoor photographic exhibit, Je lis Montréal (I read Montreal), will show how reading and readers are everywhere. The exhibit will be right on the sidewalks of McGill College, one of downtown Montreal's major pedestrian thoroughfares, linking the gates of McGill University to Place Ville-Marie.
  • Universities won't be left out of the loop either. For example, the University of Montreal is hosting a series called Le Printemps du livre savant (Spring festival of scholarly publishing) that will delve into the history of the field.
  • And of course, the city's 56 local public library branches have planned a full year of outreach and promotional activities.
  • Finally, the new Grande Bibliothèque, that officially opens next weekend, will host an international copyright symposium in April 2006. The Grande Bibliothèque (Great Library) is the result of the merger of the various patrimonial collections of the National Library of Quebec and of the Montreal Municipal Library.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:19 pm


Blogger Unknown said...

Many thanks for this semi-historic link. It is very difficult to find internet references to the early World Book Capital events, and demonstrates quite dramatically how limiting knowledge can become for what happened in the last century or the beginning of this one! it might be there - but the likelihood of finding much of it is zilch! I came across this, by chance, on Google India whilst searching for the New Delhi World Book Capital! Thanks again for the record!

4:43 am  

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