by Barbara Black
Numerous Concordians were involved in last weeks Blue Metropolis
international literary festival.
One of the events was the wind-up of a short story competition, in whose
announcement of winners, alas, the CBC Radio One organizers and jurors
could not participate because of a strike. However, the event took place
as planned, and participants were given a free copy of the book of outstanding
stories from the past three years.
It is called Telling Stories: New English Stories from Quebec,
and is edited by Claude Lalumière. The publishers are Véhicule
Press, run by Simon Dardick, who teaches in Concordias English
Department, and Nancy Marrelli, University Archivist.
One of this years winners is by Matthew Anderson, who teaches
in the Theological Studies Department. Called Encomium, its
about a clergyman preparing for a funeral, trying to put together an appropriate
tribute to a woman whom he has never met. He finds he must cut through
the clichés and generalities of her familys remarks to find
the kernel of individuality that gave her life meaning.
One of the honourable mentions from 2000-01 was written by Linda Dyer,
better known as associate professor of management in the John Molson School
Linda says she took a course in creative writing through Continuing Education.
Then she heard about the short story competition, and thought, why not
put that course to work? Her story, called Feeding Him, is a vignette
of a caregiver concentrating on her patient, a man who can no longer communicate
his needs, but who finds a way of expressing them.
Marla Becking, assistant to the chair of Canadian Jewish Studies,
wrote one of the prizewinning stories from 1999-2000. Called Pneumonia,
its a harrowing glimpse into the so-called healing process of a
woman who has inadvertently caused the deaths of those dearest to her.
There are no doubt many others from Concordia involved in the Blue Met,
a highly successful festival that has already become a Montreal institution
and drawing-card for writers and avid readers. In fact, the founding organizer
is Linda Leith, who has taught over the years in the English Department.