Québec authors visit Spain
Neil Bissoondath at the University of Huelva. Photo: Pilar Cuder Dominguez
Spain welcomed several well-known Québec authors in November. The writers were in the country to take part in activities supported by the Québec Government office in Barcelona. An initial lecture tour organized by the International Association of Québec Studies (AIEQ) was devoted to authors Neil Bissoondath and Pierre Szalowski. Another event, flowing from an exchange between the Centre des auteurs dramatiques (CEAD) and the Sala Beckett (Beckett theatre) in Barcelona, focused on playwrights Evelyne de la Chenelière, Catherine Léger and Larry Tremblay.
From November 5 to 12, Pierre Szalowski visited no fewer than six prestigious universities, in Tenerife, Madrid, Barcelona, Castellón de la Plana, Valencia and Alicante. His talk focused on the challenges of selling Québec works outside Québec. Szalowski called on his personal experience and referred to Québec history, particularly the French-English relationship.
Photographer, journalist, graphic artist and artistic director — among other fields of expertise — Szalowski published his first novel, Le froid modifie la trajectoire des poissons, in 2007. Short-listed for the Prix des libraires du Québec, the Prix de la relève Archambault and the Grand Prix littéraire Archambault following its release, it has been translated into Spanish (Grijalbo) and Catalan (Rosa dels Vents).
From November 13 to 24, anglophone novelist and essayist Neil Bissoondath gave a series of lectures at the University of Cádiz (during a conference held by the Spanish Association for English and American Studies), the University of Huelva, the University of La Laguna, the University of Oviedo and the Autonomous University of Madrid. He covered the role and importance of narration in creating identities, which are becoming increasingly “pick-and-choose.”
Born in Trinidad, Neil Bissoondath immigrated to Canada in 1973 and has lived in Québec for about a decade. He teaches literary creation at Université Laval. He received the Spirale prize for Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada in 1995, the QSPELL prize for best novel for Worlds Within Her in 1999 and the Hugh MacLennan award from the Quebec Writers’ Federation for The Unyielding Clamour of the Night in 2005.
Catherine Léger, Larry Tremblay and Evelyne de la Chenelière
The Sala Beckett in Barcelona welcomed three Québec playwrights as part of the Québec-Catalonia cooperative framework, with support from the Ramon Llull Institute. On November 23 and 24, before a packed house, Catalonian actors read works by all three Quebecers: Bashir Lazhar, by Evelyne de la Chenelière, Voiture américaine, by Catherine Léger, and Abraham Lincoln va au théâtre, by Larry Tremblay. The playwrights also took part in a roundtable on contemporary Québec dramatic art. On November 24 and 26, Larry Tremblay gave a workshop on writing for the theatre.
Support for these activities was provided in part under a cultural program to underline the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Québec government office in Barcelona.
Québec Government office in Barcelona