Category Archives: Frye Festival

Dawn Arnold: Tips on Voting for the Frye Sculpture


The Festival continues to be ranked 6th in the $25,000 category. We obviously want to win this competition and create a beautiful tribute to Northrop Frye, so every vote is important! You can vote daily here:

Please note that when voting you MUST BE LOGGED IN FIRST for your vote to count. If you simply go to “vote” and then log-in, you have not actually voted. So, log-in first and then vote.

We are also putting together a “voting” team. This is a group of individuals who will be willing to vote daily for anyone who doesn’t have the time or who is away from technology for vacation. Simply send e-mail addresses to me at: and we will take care of the rest!  Thank you!

Frye Alert


Moncton mayor George LeBlanc chats with Northrop Frye at the site of the future public art display.

For those of you who’ve been voting daily for the proposed Frye sculpture, the proposal now sits in sixth (that’s 6th) place.  Only the top two proposals will receive a $25,000 prize.  So, of course, we’re encouraging everyone to be sure to vote daily.

Happily, Dawn Arnold has simplified the process by providing a direct link to the vote button here: For those of you who’ve already registered with the site and voted, just hit that link, sign in, and then hit the vote button at the bottom of the page.  If you’ve not yet registered or voted, please do so as soon as you can.

And remember: you can vote every day.  So be sure to bookmark that link.

From an article about the proposed sculpture in today’s Times & Transcript:

The city and Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville Inc. have been promoting the idea of more public art in the downtown area and Arnold says now is the time to celebrate Moncton’s most famous son. Arnold says a statue of Frye would feed the imaginations of others in the community, contribute to a more vibrant and visually rich community and celebrate the growing importance of literacy in our society.

The statue would also become a bit of a tourist attraction, a place where people could go to have their photo taken like the Bronze Fonz in Milwaukee, the statue of Winston Churchill in Halifax; or the statue of John Lennon in Havana, which portrays the famous Beatle sitting on a park bench, turning to his left as if in conversation with whomever happens to sit next to him.

Here once again is a direct link to the voting site:

So, go already!

Dawn Arnold: Frye Sculpture Update


The Frye Festival needs your help to create a life-sized bronze sculpture of Northrop Frye, sitting on a park bench, reading a book, in front of the Moncton Public Library. We have entered a national contest hosted by Pepsi Canada that offers non-profit organizations the chance to win money for projects that have a positive impact on their community. But, we need your votes to win because winners are chosen exclusively by the number of votes they receive.

The contest runs until August 31 and participants can vote daily for their favourite project.

Visit and click “Vote now!”. In the bottom left hand corner of your screen ( you will see “Welcome!” and then in yellow “Join Refresh Everything”.  Once you have joined (this involves inputting your first and last name, your e-mail and choosing a personal password) you can then vote. Find the project in the “Arts and Culture” (blue) category and within the “$25,000” section.

Vote daily to do your part to help create a lasting legacy for Northrop Frye! The world needs more Frye, now more than ever!  Tomorrow is Frye’s 98th birthday.  Make this your gift that keeps on giving.

You can read more about the project in today’s Monction Times & Transcript here.

Dawn Arnold: Frye Sculpture Update


Thank you for all the support! The “Feed Your imagination” project to create a bronze sculpture of Northrop Frye is now #4 of 243 projects…please keep voting!

Go to daily and click on the Arts and Culture section. Once there, click on the $25,000 box in order to vote for the “Feed Your Imagination” project.

Remember: you can vote once a day, every day till August 31st!

Voting Starts Tomorrow!



Just a reminder that the Frye Festival needs your help to win $25,000 to create a bronze life-sized sculpture of Northrop Frye sitting on a park bench reading a book outside the Moncton Public Library. As part of a national competition presented by Pepsi Canada, the Festival has submitted a proposal to win the funds to create an enduring reminder of our community’s most famous son.

Vote to Refresh Moncton! Beginning on Thursday, July 1st and running until Tuesday, August 31, 2010, everyone is invited to visit the website daily and vote for “Feed your imagination” in the Arts and Culture section. The winner will be chosen exclusively on the number of votes it receives, so vote daily and get your friends and family to do the same!

Northrop Frye Sculpture News Release

Vote to Give Northrop Frye a Permanent Presence in Our Downtown!

LeBlanc Northrop Frye

Mayor George LeBlanc chats with Northrop Frye at the site of the future public art display.

The Frye Festival needs your help to win $25,000 to create a bronze life-sized sculpture of Northrop Frye sitting on a park bench reading a book outside the Moncton Public Library. As part of a national competition presented by Pepsi Canada, the Festival has submitted a proposal to win the funds to create an enduring reminder of our community’s most famous son.

Vote to Refresh Moncton! Beginning on Thursday, July 1st and running until Tuesday, August 31, 2010, everyone is invited to visit the website daily and vote for “Feed your imagination” in the Arts and Culture section. The winner will be chosen exclusively on the number of votes it receives, so vote daily and get your friends and family to do the same!

Public art plays a vital role in creating a liveable and beautiful city and enhances the quality of life of all its citizens. That is why Mayor George LeBlanc is all over this project: “The City of Moncton believes whole-heartedly in the value and importance of public art. A sculpture like this one would celebrate our most famous son’s legacy while helping to create a more visually rich downtown core.”

The Frye Festival, Canada’s only bilingual international literary festival, exists to “feed the imaginations” of all members of our community. While public art is not usually something that the Festival is involved in, Chair Dawn Arnold is excited about the project. “We have often thought about how nice it would be to give Northrop Frye an enduring presence somewhere in our city, and what could be more perfect than outside the Moncton Public Library? When Northrop Frye lived in Moncton from 1919 to 1929, books were scarce. For me, paying tribute to this great thinker and giving him a place of honour in our community also raises awareness of the importance of literacy in our society today. What a great opportunity for all of us to be involved and engaged in creating a more beautiful downtown and celebrating imaginations. Vote every day — every vote counts!”

People from across Canada will be participating in the voting process and competition will be tight. By registering and logging on to the web site, each person can vote for “Feed your imagination” daily. The contest is being presented by Pepsi Canada, who will distribute $1,000,000 over one year.

If the Festival is successful in winning the money, they will mount a national competition to find a sculptor to create the art. The goal will be to have Margaret Atwood, Canada’s most famous living writer and a former student of Northrop Frye’s, unveil the sculpture during the 2011 Frye Festival (April 25-May 1, 2011).

For more information, please contact:

Danielle LeBlanc

Executive Director, Frye Festival


Another photo after the jump.

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Noah Richler: “What We Talk About When We Talk About War”


An except from Noah Richler’s talk at the Frye Festival last month, soon to be published in its entirety by Goose Lane Press.

We Are at War

If Parliament remains true to the decision it made in 2008[1], then by December 2011, Canadian soldiers will leave Afghanistan and our participation as combatants in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force will have ended. I’m not speaking to you, today, to judge this undeclared war—though technically speaking, we are not fighting a war but are involved in a “counter-insurgency” operation[2] and so conveniently not bound by the Geneva Conventions. No, appropriate to the Festival’s flattering invitation I come to the topic of this war, let’s call it a war, in the shadow of the master, Northrop Frye. As someone with a keen interest in story, I am fascinated by how the manner in which we narrate our lives lays the way for the journey we make through war’s repeating cycle of insult, escalating injury and then exhaustion. I am here to consider how we have talked ourselves into this war[3], through it—and now, finally, are talking ourselves out of it.

The Canadian Military Then and Now

Ten years ago Canada considered itself a ‘peacekeeping’ nation despite having a diminishing presence in actual UN peacekeeping operations around the world. More than 100 000 Canadians have participated in UN operations since 1948[4] but a mere 317 Canadians in blue helmets were serving in small numbers in various missions around the world in September, 2001[5], when Canada’s rank among contributing nations had plummeted to 33rd among contributing nations[6].

Now (at the end of February, 2010) it ranks 57th.[7] Today, our Forces are still nowhere near the 1.1 million who fought over the course of the Second World War when, despite our relatively meager population—of which more than 45 000 gave their lives—this country had the third largest navy, the fourth largest air force and six land divisions fighting[8], but it is probably fair to say that at the present time the Canadian Forces enjoy a much higher and more visible profile than they have done for fifty years and that the solemnity with which Canadian military fatalities are honoured is the envy of other armies and countries fighting in the ISAF in Afghanistan.

It’s unlikely that the character of Canadians was altered so fundamentally in that time, but there is no question that a wholesale revision of a couple of our myths of identity at least provided the suggestion of such a change. It is this occurrence on the narrative plane that I wish to examine through the limited evidence of the voices of a few of the soldiers and their families but more so the journalists and pundits who write and comment on the war for the Canadian news media. Today, in a hyper-narrated world that I believe Northrop Frye would have found tremendously exciting, not just poets but you and I and especially the press are Shelley’s “unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

Reporters[9], in the heat of the moment, articulate the national story and in this regard I believe their pronouncements to be reasonably scientific barometer of how not just the content but also the form of stories have been manipulated to permit the war and, in the very moment we are living in, are about to excuse us from it.[10]

How Stories Work (According to Northrop Frye)

Stories are the mirror of a society’s worldview and present themselves to us in myriad forms, the range of which is no longer academic. Northrop Frye, in his Anatomy of Criticism, presented a “Theory of Modes” in which the form of a story could be classified by the relative “elevation” of its characters who were superior or inferior to we mortals in kind or in degree. Gods, superior to us in kind, operate in a world not subject to the laws of ours mundane one in stories Frye called ‘myths’. Stories that feature characters living in the same world that we do and who are like us in kind but superior to ordinary humans in degree, are romances with heroes. The hero, says Frye, “is a leader. He has authority, passions, and powers of expression far greater than ours, but what he does is subject both to social criticism and to the order of nature.” He is a hero in a high mimetic mode—the hero “of most epic and tragedy, and is primarily the kind of hero that Aristotle had in mind.”[11] The hero is in low mimetic if he is utterly like us in kind and in degree. Such a character is, says Frye, “of realistic fiction”—and not very grand at all. He is, writes Frye, “one of us: we respond to a sense of his common humanity, and demand from the poet the same canons of probability that we find in our own experience.”

Frye, however, reluctantly toiling in the ‘Bush Garden’ (a phrase he borrowed from a student of his called Margaret Atwood), was in the habit of judging stories at a remote distance. Today these story forms are close and immediate. We negotiate not just with Islamism but a host of creeds that as recently as fifty years ago entered the imaginations even of scholars merely on paper or as the result of anthropological travels to distant lands. Now they live not just down the street, they’re next door and inside the house and in your son’s or daughter’s bedroom. We live in a world where the means to fabricate or subscribe to a story and disseminate it have never been more powerful or more commonplace—means that are, quite literally, at our keyboard fingertips, and we have come to understand their astonishing power because ordinary life has taught us to recognize and to use our viral capacity as their agents. Stories have never been less remote. They are dynamic to the point of being positively volatile and—I’m much influenced by the English biologist Richard Dawkins’s notion of memes, here—they act as the foot soldiers of narrative cultures that are virulently, intensely competitive.

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Dawn Arnold: Frye Festival Roundup


We had our Volunteer Appreciation Party last night at Atlantic Lottery Corporation. What an amazing group of people who contribute so much to our community. We had door prizes for everyone and the opportunity to thank them all for driving authors to school visits, conducting audience surveys at events, taking tickets at the door, playing word bingo with kids at KidsFest, and so much more!

I am lobbying hard to have a new school in Moncton named “Northrop Frye Elementary”…we shall see! Thanks to Robert Denham (via Ed Lemond) for the definition of “Northrop”.

Sadly, I remain “ni-lingual” (incapable of speaking or writing in English or in French), so I don’t have any enormous insights on the Festival yet (sorry Michael!).

As promised, here is the full text of our poet flyé’s (Jesse Robichaud) Poem Flyé. Jesse is a journalist for our local paper, the Times and Transcript and is a gifted, bilingual writer. He told me today that he considers “the festival one of the best things about Moncton, and also symbolic of the best things about Moncton”. Jesse delivered this poem at the Greater Moncton International Airport at our closing and it will have a permanent presence at the airport.

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Moncton and Genius

Moncton night

Oscar Wilde, one of Frye’s favorite critics, observes in The Critic as Artist, one of Frye’s favorite critical works, “Yes, the public is wonderfully tolerant.  It forgives everything except genius.”

Great quip.  Except of course that it can be proven wrong, as demonstrated yet again this year by Moncton’s Frye Festival.  Every genius should be so fortunate to be so warmly and generously embraced by the hometown crowd, year in and year out.  The most artistic of critics, Frye would no doubt have loved the fact that the festival held in his honor is a celebration of the arts first and foremost.  The good people of Moncton have not only done it again but done it right.

Features in the Moncton Times & Transcript by local high school students here, here and here.

Dawn Arnold: Frye Festival Diary

FRYE ACADEMY with Frye Academy Award

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.

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