If you’re Canadian and a reader, you’ve probably heard of Blue Met (Metropolis Bleu). It produces a renowned international Literary Festival in Montreal every spring, along with a slightly-less-well-known Children’s Literary Festival. But Blue Met is so much more than an event!
A non-profit arts foundation, Blue Met is dedicated to bringing people from different cultures together to share the pleasures of reading and writing. It offers educational and social programs year-round, for all ages, in and out of classrooms, to promote mental health, encourage academic perseverance, and fight against poverty and social isolation.
For more than 20 years, Blue Met has been providing face-to-face creative experiences. But this year — like everyone has had to — they’ve focussed on virtual projects.
I was one of the authors slated to participate in the 2020 Blue Met Children’s Festival last spring, cancelled due to the pandemic. So I was very pleased to be part of Blue Met’s “Writers as Gifts” project this fall/winter. (No, I don’t get to go to Montreal and meet actual humans. But it’s nice to be part of something.)
“Writers as Gifts” is an online holiday storytelling party that features recorded readings by 8 children’s authors with the theme, “The Spirit of Sharing.” The project features original English poems and stories from Anne Renaud, Lydia Lukidis, and me, Catherine Austen, and French pieces from Louis Émond, Gabriel Anctil, Marie Célie Agnant, Christine Sioui Wawanoloath, and Katia Canciani.
And wow, what an amazing job the creative people at Blue Met have done! They took our simple recordings and turned them into art, adding a montage of images that bring the readings to life, like a moving picture book. Check it out.
I’ve embedded the video of me reading the story “Winter Blues” below. But be sure to watch and listen to all the stories and poems available on the Blue Met website. Beautiful poems, heartfelt stories, gorgeous film footage (I love the animals in Lydia Lukidis’s story!) — it’s something special. The holidays may be coming to a close, but the stories will be up all winter, so check them out whenever you need a pick-me-up.
And browse around the entire Blue Met website. You’ll find all sorts of creative projects to enrich your day, boost your morale, and spark your inner artist.
And while you’re there, if you like what you see and you believe in the foundation’s mission to encourage creativity and intercultural understanding (and who doesn’t?), consider making a donation to Blue Met. Like so many sectors of society, artists and arts organizations have been hit hard by the pandemic. And the world needs the creativity, joy, and understanding that the arts can foster. So give what you can.
And that’s it from me on this grey New Year’s Eve. If you feel the winter blues creep up on you, remember: the days are getting longer. Don’t give up.
Happy New Year!
Category: authors, featured, reading, short stories, What's NewTags: anne renaud, blue met, children's poetry, children's stories, christine sioui wawanoloath, christmas, christmas stories, digital stories, featured, gabriel anctil, giving, holiday season, katia canciani, literary festival, louis emond, lydia lukidis, marie-celie agnant, metropolis bleu, poems, sharing, spirit of sharing, stories, writers as gifts