Montreal, QC — The 2019 Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival is proud to welcome the winners of the Student Essay-Writing Competition from the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, and the Université de Montréal. Both winners will attend the 2019 Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival and receive $1,000. The programs in which they are enrolled will also each receive $1,000.
Now in its second year, the Student Essay-Writing Competition is a Blue Metropolis- McConnell Foundation social innovation project based on the First Peoples Literary Prize. This year, nine Canadian universities promoted the competition among students enrolled in First Peoples Studies or First Peoples Literature programs. The competition is presenting two awards, one to an English-speaking student, the other to a French-speaking student, each of whom wrote an essay based on an excerpt from a work by a First Peoples Prize winner, providing a personal, critical and political response to the excerpt.
The English-speaking winner is University of New Brunswick student Matthew LeBlanc, from Natoaganeg (Eel Ground) First Nation, for his essay titled “Understanding the Indian Condition”, inspired by Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, winner of this year’s First Peoples Literary Prize.
Matthew LeBlanc says that with the help of his mother’s wisdom, he was able to overcome adversity and become a proud young Mi’kmaq man. He treasures his culture and community; he worked this past summer as the Youth Coordinator for his community’s health centre and plans to serve his community’s youth for years to come.
He says, “This award brings great pride to me and my family.”
The French-speaking winner is Coline Souilhol, from the Université de Montréal, for her essay, “La responsabilité du conteur d’histoire face aux perceptions historiques”, inspired by Histoires et vérités: Récits Autochtones (The Truth About Stories), by Thomas King.
Coline studied English literature in Grenoble, France, before starting her Master’s at the Université de Montréal. She is particularly interested in North American literature and history, First Peoples literature, and transnationalism.
Blue Metropolis at a glance
Blue Metropolis Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997 that brings together people from different cultures to share the pleasures of reading and writing, and encourages creativity and intercultural understanding. The Foundation produces an annual literary festival of international calibre and offers a wide range of educational and social programs year-round, both in classrooms and online. These programs use reading and writing as therapeutic tools, to encourage academic perseverance and fight against poverty and social isolation.