'Writing the Climate, the Climate of Writing' at Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival 2023


Award-winning Welsh authors Siân Melangell Dafydd and Llŷr Gwyn Lewis attended the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal on 27–30 April alongside Literature Across Frontiers’ Director, Alexandra Büchler.

Writing the Climate, the Climate of Writing at Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival 2023

Siân Melangell Dafydd, Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, Juliana Léveillé-Trudel and Louis Hamelin

Their visit was a part of an ongoing programme of cultural exchange between Quebec and Wales organized by Literature Across Frontiers in partnership with the Blue Metropolis Festival. The exchange project – ‘Writing the Climate, the Climate of Writing’ – brings together authors to discuss humanity’s relationship with natural and cultural ecosystems and its reflection in literature.

Hay Festival’s International Director Cristina Fuentes la Roche also participated in the festival’s programme aimed at book professionals.

Blue Metropolis strives to unite people, countries, languages and cultures by ‘sharing the pleasure of reading and writing’. Since its conception in 1997, the festival has made it its mission to provide a bridge between linguistic, cultural and geographic divides and draw broad, curious and diverse audiences.

2023 marks the festival’s 25th anniversary, and its rich programme included a first encounter between the Welsh and Quebec authors participating in the exchange this year, Siân Melangell Dafydd, Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, Juliana Léveillé-Trudel and Louis Hamelin, who read together texts about the intersections between literature and nature. Siân and Llŷr also spoke in three panel debates: ‘Languages of the World and Pop Culture’,The Future of Linguistic Diversity’ and ‘Forgetting the Old World?’

Alexandra Büchler of LAF met with a group of Quebec authors who presented their work and discussed the position of Quebec’s francophone writing in relation to the literary scenes of North America and France. Alexandra also took part in two events together with Cristina Fuentes la Roche of Hay Festival. They discussed the challenges faced by book event organizers today in a panel titled ‘Book Events Under Pressure’ and gave a Masterclass in Governance and Entrepreneurship in the Literary Arts to students of cultural management at Concordia University

This exciting programme of cultural exchange extends beyond the Blue Metropolis Festival, as Quebec authors Juliana Leveillé-Trudel and Louis Hamelin will also visit Wales in June and appear in events at the Owain Glyndŵr Centre in Machynlleth on Friday, 2 June and at the Hay Festival on Sunday, 4 June alongside Siân Melangell Dafydd and Llŷr Gwyn Lewis once again.

Alexandra Büchler, Director of LAF, said: “We welcome the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with Quebec whose francophone authors share concerns about writing in the shadow of a dominant language and culture and asserting a distinctive cultural identity. Our ongoing partnership with the iconic Blue Metropolis Festival, supported by the governments of Quebec and Wales, provides the prefect vehicle for these conversations.”

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of CAWCS and Strategic Director of Wales Literature Exchange said: “Wales Literature Exchange and Literature Across frontiers contribute significantly to our civil mission, connecting Wales to the world through multilingual literary and cultural exchange. We’re delighted that the relationship with Quebec and Metropolis Bleu is going from strength to strength.”

Siân Melangell Dafydd said: “Through my visit to Blue Metropolis I was able to rekindle a vital part of my life as a writer: appear in front of an international audience and exchange ideas with fellow writers and readers. It was a privilege to attend this vibrant event. Friendships formed through collaborative literature projects are lifelong ones, and my work will be shaped by this experience for years to come.”

Llŷr Gwyn Lewis said: “The Blue Metropolis was one of the most friendly and welcoming literary events in which I’ve participated, and through the opportunity to share my work, and to learn more too about Quebec’s history and its own linguistic challenges, the experience will enrich my own writing in future. Many thanks to the festival organizers and to LAF for the opportunity.”

Note to Editor

1. For the full list of events please click on the following link - Rhaglen Blue Metropolis 2023 Programme

2. Link to author biographies:

3. Background

Literature Across Frontiers (LAF) is the European Platform for Literary Exchange, Translation and Policy Debate established in Wales with support from the European Union in 2001. Find more about LAF here

LAF is based at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, University of Wales, adjacent to the National Library, and is part of University of Wales Trinity Saint David, alongside Wales Literature Exchange, the programme promoting Welsh books and providing support for their translation. Their activities are supported by the Arts Council of Wales and other funders. 

‘Writing the Climate, the Climate of Writing’, the project of literary exchange between Quebec and Wales examining the natural and cultural ecosystems through the eyes of writers, is supported by the governments of Quebec and Wales.

The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) was established by the University of Wales in 1985 as a dedicated research centre conducting team-based projects on the languages, literatures, culture and history of Wales and the other Celtic countries. It is located in Aberystwyth, adjacent to the National Library of Wales, which is an internationally renowned copyright library with excellent research facilities.

CAWCS offers unique opportunities for postgraduate students to work alongside specialists in a dynamic and supportive environment. We welcome enquiries about MPhil/PhD topics in any of our research areas. For more information about research opportunities, or for an informal chat about possible topics, contact our Head of Graduate Studies, Dr Elizabeth Edwards: e.edwards@wales.ac.uk

Further Information

For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 07384 467076 / arwel.lloyd@uwtsd.ac.uk