The 10th Salon du livre des Premières Nations (SLPN) presented by Kwahiatonhk! attracted more visitors than ever. From Nov. 18 to 21, events held at the Morrin Centre, the nearby Maison de la Littérature and online invited people of all backgrounds to discover the world of Indigenous literature through lectures, exhibits, shows, art and books.
The book fair opened with Les Oranges sont rouges, a series of readings by authors Shayne Michael, Maya Cousineau Mollen, Darrel J. McLeod and Jocelyn Sioui, about the sometimes hard and terribly human worlds they create, deeply rooted in the history of Quebec and the rest of Canada. Spectators discovered a unique and moving combination of poetry, music, puppetry and dance.
In Morrin Centre’s College Hall, readers browsed shelves filled with books, many by authors who were guest speakers, some of whom held autograph sessions. Many items were available in French, English and Indigenous languages. There was a wide selection for all ages. While some people were captivated by the books, others explored the art exhibit held in the same space. The exhibit Le Legs (The Legacy) follows a young man in a distant post-apocalyptic future, who discovers in a cave a talking stick made by the Ancients.
After two full days, the SLPN invited the public to the second consecutive virtual edition of Déjeuner-Poésie. From the comfort of home, while enjoying Sunday brunch, participants listened to authors read poetry on Facebook Live.
The book fair closed with the Bingo littéraire Kwahiatonhk! While playing, people explored different facets of Indigenous literature from the 1970s to the present.
“Literature undeniably contributes to the transmission of the knowledge of our ancestors, to the development of the leadership of tomorrow and to the influence of our cultures. The wealth of talents also makes it possible to bring cultures together and above all to bequeath a precious heritage,” said Mélanie Vincent, president of Kwahiatonhk! “The literary space is an ideal place to share and celebrate our values, in a spirit of unity and fraternity.”
Since the inaugural edition in 2011, Indigenous authors in Quebec and the rest of Canada have been increasingly published, recognized and awarded for their works. French-speaking colleges and universities have also increased their Indigenous course material.
“I am extremely happy that I discovered this book fair, because Indigenous cultures are incredibly rich and colourful, and we have so much to learn from them,” said Catherine Gignac. “I greatly enjoyed listening to their stories and discovering numerous books and authors. Such culturally specific events are important to our Quebec and Canadian identities.”