The Frye Academy with the Frye Academy Award
Sunday, April 25, 2010
We made it! The authors are all on their way home and the past week is feeling somewhat surreal.
This morning we had what I think may have been the nicest Brunch and Books ever. This is always an extremely powerful event since The Greater Moncton Literacy Advisory Board’s Adult New Writers Contest award-winners and their tutors are in attendance. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is a long-time sponsor of this event and Courtney Pringle-Carver, the ALC’s Senior Public Affairs Counsel (and a Frye Festival Board Member) did a fabulous job of presenting the awards and the authors.
The adult new writers are always inspiring and courageous. I was surprised by how young some of the award-winners were today. Typically, the awards have been won by much older people. It seemed very positive to me that they were younger than usual, perhaps this is an indication that the illiteracy taboo might be changing somewhat.
Beth Powning an award-winning New Brunswick author, who had been involved in a fascinating book project called Breaking the Word Barrier: Stories of Adults Learning to Read spoke extremely eloquently about this idea of “taboo” when it comes to illiteracy in our society. She talked of meeting the newly literate Linda and how difficult it was initially to speak about this. Beth wrote a beautiful tribute to Linda called The Word for Love.
Watching the hard-working Tidewater Book Shop staff pack up the Festival bookshop really brought home to me the fact that the Festival was almost over. I don’t know what their numbers are yet, but despite all the books they were packing up, they seemed quite pleased with their sales.
Then, it was to the quickly disassembling headquarters to ensure that our press release was correct. Members of the media started calling, lining up interviews for after the closing ceremony. Local CBC journalist Michael R. LeBlanc had unearthed old audio of Northrop Frye speaking about Moncton’s “amicable apartheid” and wanted to speak about the role the Festival plays in bringing our two distinct cultures together. Luckily, I had a few stories of authors who had commented on this, including Noah Richler’s obsession with the simultaneous translation devices and how no one seemed to need them in Moncton. I also received an excellent anecdote from Roxanne Richard and Danielle LeBlanc concerning comments that both Annabel Lyon and Steven Galloway had made about the fact that this Festival is the only book event they had ever done where they were able to meet French authors too. They both loved the bilingual nature of the Festival.