Faire Communauté/Creating Community: Literary Event Aims to Unite Local Culture and Celebrate Language Diversity

From November 28th through to December 9th, twelve authors from different horizons and across the province will unite to share stories about what culture means to them for all who would like to listen. The Faire Communauté/Creating Community bilingual literary event will be making six stops around New Brunswick in an effort to unite communities, linguistic or otherwise, and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity.

As one of the 200 projects across the country to be funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program, Creating Community’s main focus is to promote community and dialogue across the province and between the different subcultures present.

The authors are a group made up of individuals from each of the four different walks of life here in the province: Anglophone, Francophone, Indigenous and come-from-away. But even though people from four different walks of life will be speaking about what community means to them, all presentations will be read in either English or French.

In addition to this, each author was teamed up with their own translator to work with one-on-one, ensuring the accessibility of the stories. These translations will also be projected as surtitles during the event, breaking language barriers for the audience in each community visited. Eight of the twelve pieces will be read in English, and four in French.

Percentage wise, it’s a bit of a reflection of what our language demographic is in the province as well,” states event organizer Sonya Malaborza. “The idea was to try to get three people from each of the groups to come together and write a piece about community [and] what community means to them in their daily life.

While the presentations themselves will be bilingual, event organizers are also in the process of trying to translate all twelve texts into Mi’kmaq and, if funding permits, into Wolastoqiyik as well.

The English and French versions of these texts are already complete and will be available online through the Ancrages online publication, but the organizers’ aim is to have the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik translations alongside the English and French. These translations will serve as great learning tools for these two languages that are a huge part of our province’s history.

The authors contributing stories to this event include Beth Powning (Sussex), Brigitte Lavallée (Petit-Rocher), Elizabeth Blanchard (Grand-Barachois), Gerard Collins (Sussex), Lee Thompson (Moncton), Muhammad Al-Digeil (Fredericton), Paul Bossé (Moncton), Phyllis Grant (Pabineau First Nation), Raymond Sewell (Pabineau First Nation/Halifax), Sébastien Bérubé (Edmundston), Sheedy Petit Jean (Haïti/Moncton) and Shelby Beaatz Sappier (Tobique/Fredericton).

Another important objective for our project is to allow audience members from all communities to discover writers who don’t necessarily cross over languages,” adds Malaborza. “People like Sébastien Bérubé and Paul Bossé, to name just those two, are very well known in French literary circles but will be relatively unknown to audience members who read mostly in English. The same can be said of Beth Powning and Lee Thompson.

Tickets to the event will be available at the door for $5. The doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and readings will start at 8:00 p.m., except in Fredericton, where the doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and the readings will start at 2:00 p.m. The dates and locations are:

Friday, Nov. 24: Bathurst
Studio 2, 125 Main St.

Saturday, Nov. 25: Rexton
Rexton Curling Club, 49 Centennial Ave. West

Friday, Dec. 1: Moncton
Bernard-LeBlanc Theatre, Centre culturel Aberdeen, 140 Botsford St.

Saturday, Dec. 2: Saint John
Saint John Arts Centre, 20 Peel Place

Friday, Dec. 8: Edmundston
Centre des arts d’Edmundston, 82 Canada Rd.

Saturday, Dec. 9: Fredericton
Picaroons Roundhouse, 880 Union St.

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