A montage of images representing the Maison de la littérature (House of Literature) in Quebec City, Canada. One of many exceptional learning centers in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River region. https://www-maisondelalitterature-qc-ca.translate.goog/?_x_tr_sl=fr&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc
After waiting nearly two years and nine months due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we flew to Québec City in late September to visit the House of Literature (Maison de la littérature). One of 26 public libraries in the provincial capital city, the Maison is a library in the traditional sense with shelves of books and reading desks, but it is also a performance and exhibition space, home to poetry readings, musical performances, art installations and literary residencies for people from around the globe.
We rescheduled the journey twice before visiting Québec. Through it all we received encouragement from Dominique Lemieux, the Maison’s former Director. Dominique is now director of all public libraries in the city. He and the four writers and artists we interviewed for the project were supportive of our plan to feature learning centers of the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River region. And where better to begin than with Québec City. Founded in 1608, the cradle of New France (La Nouvelle France) was home base for generations of persons who traveled from the Old World on voyages of discovery and to improve their lives. Dominique and the Maison’s new director, Valérie Lambert, welcomed us with a tour of the building as well as a portfolio of photos presenting a timeline of the Maison’s transformation from a historic church into a contemporary library. Merci Québec!
CELEBRATE LIBRARIES 2022 ISSUU PUBLICATION
HOUSE OF LITERATURE WRITERS
A native of southwest France, illustrator Tiphaine Gantheil, traveled to Québec City with designer Timothée Morisse for a co-residency sponsored by the Maison de la littérature and ALCA Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Tiphaine and Timothée spent two months at the Maison creating a book titled, Juliette n’est pas normale (Juliette is not normal). The following are excerpts from a recorded interview for the Celebrate Libraries Podcast.
“In Québec I worked with Timothée on this book, which is a book for teenagers. It’s about this girl of 10 or 11 years old, Juliette, who is a little bit different and I think she is looking for a kind of home. She has a home. She is living with her family. But she is looking, I think, for people or a place where she feels like she belongs to this place and to this group of people. And for me this is a big subject in my life, to find a safe place. Like a home for me is really a safe place. Where you can be yourself without judgement. Juliette is a bit different in the way that she, and I don’t like this word, but she is “gifted” or “high potential.” It’s not that she is more intelligent. It’s that her brain is working a bit differently, faster sometimes and slower at other times. She has a feeling of not being connected to these kids (classmates). Probably more connected to animals and nature. She has a high sensitivity to noises and people and she needs to have a quiet space around her.”
“It was a work of…just creation…creating a book…and it was totally free. It was really a pleasant residency.”
Tiphaine Gantheil https://tiphainegantheil.ultra-book.com/
The novel A Knife in the Sky by Haitian-born author Marie-Célie Agnant of Montréal has been issued by Inanna Publications of Toronto. The book is an English translation of Agnant’s Femmes au temps des carnassiers from 2015. Translated by Katia Grubisic, the novel is the result of a residency collaboration between LTAC (Literary Translators’ Association of Canada) and the Maison de la littérature. For more information:
Mireille Gagné, Canadienne poet and author of Le lièvre d’amérique (Snowshoe Hare), reflects on public support for French-language literature in the following excerpt from an audio interview with Jon and Robin Voils for the Celebrate Libraries Podcast.
“What is really interesting in Québec City is that there’s a lot of people that are interested by the literature and they go to see show(s), you know? I remember when I participate(d) two years ago at the Nuit de la poésie–Night of Poetry. The place was completely full for like three and four hours. It was like almost 500 people that were listening about poetry. I think that it’s marvelous for a writer. But you know, it’s good to have the door open with the public. It’s not happening all the time, you know? And when you have it you need to cherish it.”
Mireille Gagné https://www.mireillegagne.com/
Award-winning author Christiane Vadnais of Québec City was interviewed for the Celebrate Libraries Podcast. She talks about her novel Fauna and support for literature in Québec. An excerpt of the interview follows.
“I feel we are in a very welcoming place to write. Because of our story as French-speaking people in an English environment, we as a society invested a lot in culture, in artists, and so we have a great support here in Québec and in Canada to write…to create. I feel very lucky.”
Christiane Vadnais https://www.christianevadnais.com/english.html
In choosing the word “beyond” to represent the next chapter of the Celebrate Libraries® story, we are in essence moving beyond the first seven years of our company’s history as well as (hopefully) the pandemic phase of the Covid-19 Coronavirus disease.
Our twice-delayed cross border trip to Québec City, Canada – beyond the territorial frontier of the US – has been rescheduled for September 2022 and we are anticipating a successful visit to the Maison de la littérature or House of Literature where we begin our project to spotlight exceptional learning centers of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes Basin.
The Maison is a venue devoted to promoting performance and literature of the French language-primary speakers of the province. Fortunately for those of us who speak English exclusively, or a second language awkwardly, many of the artists, poets and authors associated with the Maison are bilingual. Among these are authors Christiane Vadnais and Mireille Gagné who have been recorded in English for upcoming interviews on the New Ways To Dream podcast.
For more info, go to https://www.maisondelalitterature.qc.ca/%C3%A0-propos/about/
MAISON DE LA LITTERATURE, QUEBEC CITY
The Age of Exploration will never truly close as long as humanity remains curious and takes risks to learn new things. Today’s explorers investigate deep sea waters and a limitless expanding universe. They live in pressurized submarines and orbiting spacecraft high above the Earth. They also look inward and inquire about their own kind. Who are we and why we do we choose to live where and as we do?
With the voice and vision of select writers, poets and artists who have a connection with the Maison, we believe we can present a portrait of this moment in time and share it with an engaged audience.
The Maison project considers the concept of “home.” Questions are posed such as what is “home” and how is it defined? How may this change? How does a person leave home, explore a new place or an idea and then return with what has been found or experienced? How does this action transform an individual? What leads someone to exchange one home for another?
We invite you to explore with us. Let’s see what we can discover.
Celebrate Libraries will develop a podcast series based on writers and performers of the Great Lakes region, beginning with the Province of Québec. Some of the featured individuals are associated with the writers’ residency program at Maison de la littérature in Québec City.
ABOUT Maison de la littérature (House of Literature) https://www.maisondelalitterature.qc.ca/%C3%A0-propos/about/
What is a bridge? A link. A connection. A means of uniting. A bond. A tie. What does it mean to bridge? To join, to reconcile, to associate, to share. Join Celebrate Libraries® as we Build Bridges Across the Seaway.
The new Celebrate Libraries® venture explores literature and performance in Great Lakes basin communities beside the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada and the U.S.A.
As libraries gradually begin to reopen in response to COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, Celebrate Libraries® is reaching out with thanks to the librarians, business associates and other individuals who have joined with CL® in this marvelous journey.
It has been nearly six years since Celebrate Libraries® started collecting images in Edgerton, Wisconsin for the first library video. Since then CL® has produced over 55 videos and recorded about 30 audio interviews. In 2018, the company expanded the initiative into northern Illinois.
To date CL® has worked in communities from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Downers Grove, Illinois and west to La Crosse County, Wisconsin. As Celebrate Libraries® moves forward we will be exploring libraries of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Celebrate Libraries® will be working in 2021-22 with a literacy center in Québec and plans to feature the organization with a podcast and video. This is an amazing opportunity and CL® looks forward to sharing the experience with viewers and listeners.
According to the Michigan Sea Grant organization, approximately 34 million people in the United Sates and Canada live in the Great Lakes basin. Thank you again for your support and please return often. Celebrate Libraries® will provide regular updates on the project.
Robin Voils Celebrate Libraries®
Jon Voils New Ways To Dream Podasts®
Those works, a Book of Hours Sarum Use Manuscript c. 1400 and The Boies Penrose II Decorated Manuscript, are currently on view through June 16, 2019 in an exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Art of Devotion: Illuminated Manuscripts from Local Collections may be viewed in the European Art Galleries, Level 2, Gallery S202.
As libraries gradually begin to reopen in response to COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, we at Celebrate Libraries® are reaching out with thanks to the librarians, business associates and other individuals who have joined with us in this marvelous journey of support for the essential services provided by our public libraries.
It has been a little over five years since we started collecting images in Edgerton, Wisconsin for our first library video. Since then Celebrate Libraries@ has produced over 55 videos and recorded nearly 30 audio interviews. In 2018, the company expanded the initiative into northern Illinois. To date we have worked in communities from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Downers Grove, Illinois and west to La Crosse County, Wisconsin.
Our five-year anniversary was observed this past May and it was time to review our business goals for the next five years. Because Celebrate Libraries® has been focusing on libraries in Wisconsin and Illinois, two Great Lakes states, it was decided to take the next step and include the other states located along the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System.
We also decided to contact a literacy center in Québec and plan to feature the organization with a podcast later this year and a video in 2021. This is an opportunity to share our public library initiative with an even larger audience. According to the Michigan Sea Grant organization, approximately 34 million people in the United Sates and Canada live in the Great Lakes basin. Thank you again for your support. We look forward to providing future updates.
Robin and Jon Voils