Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Anne Carson wins 2016 Blue Metropolis Literary Grand Prix

When The Autobiography of Red came out, this book traveled from friend to friend in my little circle of poetry nuts. Almost like a novel in verse form, the poems retells the myth of Geryon (which sounds far more precious and intellectual than the book actually is). This book changed my entire view of what poetry could do in contemporary society and it's often cited - even amongst my friends - as one of their favorite books, even people who don't consider themselves fans of poetry.

I immediately remembered this book and some of its lines when it was announced a while back that Anne Carson had won our Grand Literary Prix for 2016. I was excited because Carson has this amazing fan base: 22 year olds lover her, 75 year olds love her. This in itself is extraordinary but just about anyone who knows anything about American, Canadian or English-language literature knows her. This kind of writer, of course, is ideal for a Festival: she is a serious writer but one that is immensely popular.

The Autobiography of Red has been followed by many books that challenge our notions of what poetry can be, but also what art can be and how it can fit in our lives today. One thing I appreciate about the art of Carson is how she pushes form, she takes chances, she doesn't sit back and coast on reputation alone. She's published Fragments of Sappho, Decreation, Red Doc> (her titles tell one very little about the power of her work) and many more.

The themes she covers range from the nature of desire to grief to the nature of language and words. There is a cult-like aura about Anne Carson.

Carson will do two big events at the Festival. On Saturday, April 16 at 4:00pm, Writers and Company's Eleanor Wachtel will interview her on stage at the Grande Bibliotheque. She will receive the prize that night as well. Get your tickets here.

Later that evening, at 8:00pm at the Contemporary Art Museum, Carson will also be present at a staged reading of Antigonick, her highly entertaining and contemporary translation of Antigone. Get tickets here.

Blue Met's Grand Literary Prix is in being awarded for the 17th time this year and has gone to an illustrious group of writers from Carlos Fuentes to AS Byatt to Norman Mailer to Joyce Carol Oates to Colm Toibin. Carson joins the six other Canadians who've won the prize.

2016 Blue Metropolis Grand Literary Prize-winner
This year our Festival runs April 11 to 17 and a few Festival passes are still available online.

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