The Frye Festival

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The Frye Festival, formerly known as the Northrop Frye International Literary Festival, is a bilingual (French and English) literary festival held in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada in April of each year. The Festival began in 2000 and is the only festival in the world to honour noted literary critic Herman Northrop Frye (1912–1991) who spent his formative years in Moncton, graduating from Aberdeen High School.

Invited participants of the Frye Festival include not only noted Frye scholars, such as Robert D. Denham, Alvin Lee, Michael Dolzani, Jean O'Grady, and Caterina Nella Cotrupi, but also top literary talent from around the world, as well as regional talent. Russell Banks, Marie-Claire Blais, Neil Bissoondath, Robert Bly, Patrick Chamoiseau, Catherine Cusset, John Dufresne, Richard Ford, Nikki Gemmell, Douglas Glover, Ursula Hegi, Nancy Huston, Witi Ihimaera, Dennis Lee, Alberto Manguel, Yann Martel, Nino Ricci, David Adams Richards, and Bernhard Schlink are among the authors to have appeared during the Festival.

The Frye Symposium Lecture and The Antonine Maillet - Northrop Frye Lecture[edit]

Two separate series of lectures take place during the Frye Festival. The Antonine Maillet - Northrop Frye Lecture began in 2006 with Neil Bissoondath, and has since been followed by David Adams Richards in 2007 and Alberto Manguel in 2008, Monique LaRue in 2009 and Noah Richler in 2010 and Margaret Atwood in 2011.

The Frye Symposium Lecture began during the first Festival and continues today. In 2000 David Staines delivered the lecture, followed by Branko Gorjup in 2001, Caterina Nella Cotrupi in 2002. In 2003 there were two Frye Symposium Lectures, one in English by Robert Denham and one in French by Naim Kattan. In 2004 there were also two lectures, both in English, one by John Ayre and one by Michael Dolzani. In 2005 there were two lectures, one by Alvin Lee and one by B. W. Powe. In 2006, the first year of the Maillet-Frye series, there was no Frye Symposium Lecture, but the lecture returned in 2007 when there were again two Frye Symposium Lectures, one by Jean O'Grady and one by Robert Denham. In 2008 there was one lecture, by Glenna Sloan.

The two lecture series are quite separate, with one featuring a well-known writer/thinker, and the other featuring a noted Frye scholar.

A brief history of the Frye Festival[edit]

Northrop Frye's presence has always been felt in Moncton. Whether it was as a young boy, riding along the streets of Moncton on his bicycle, or upon his last visit to Moncton when many people came to hear him speak, he has left an indelible mark on the city.

In November 1990, at the invitation of Professor Serge Morin, Northrop Frye returned to Moncton to deliver the Pascal Poirier Lecture at the Université de Moncton. During his stay he had the chance to meet and talk with many Monctonians, and he was able to visit his old home and the grave of his mother in Elmwood Cemetery. 'They were two of the best days of my life,' he reported to fellow Monctonian, Reuben Cohen. The following year, after Frye's death in January 1991, The Northrop Frye Society hosted a gathering of Frye-ites, and John Ayre, Frye's biographer, delivered the Pascal Poirier Lecture.

In 1997 the City of Moncton, under the chairmanship of Paulette Theriault, developed an Arts Policy. As part of this policy it was recommended that the city have a festival to honour Northrop Frye. But it wasn't until December 1998, during the production of a Vision TV documentary in Moncton, that the real seeds of today's Frye Festival were sown.

During this television production entitled "Voices of Vision", John Ralston Saul and Antonine Maillet engaged in a one-hour dialogue about creativity, in both official languages. For festival visionary and founder, Paulette Thériault, more than any other event, this event filmed at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre sparked her imagination and made her believe that a bilingual literary festival, celebrating a great man, a vibrant cultural community and highlighting Atlantic and Acadian authors, was a possibility.

In its first year more than 3,000 people attended the Festival. In 2011 more than 15,000 people attended. The Frye Festival has become one of the major literary events in Canada, and continues to grow every year. More than 350 award-winning authors, from every continent and recipients of almost every major international literary prize, have now attended the Festival. The Festival is the proud recipient of the 2005 Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award, the 2007 Éloize for Event of the Year and the 2009 TD Canada Trust Arts Organization of the Year by the New Brunswick Foundation for the Arts.

The Frye Festival is Canada's only bilingual, international literary festival, the largest literary happening in Atlantic Canada and is the only festival in the world to honour Northrop Frye.

Participating authors[edit]

The complete list of participating authors as of November 2011:

José Acquelin
Emmanuel Adely
Christine Adjahi
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
André Alexis
Barry Jean Ancelet
Marguerite Andersen
Tammy Armstrong
Marc Arseneau
Guy Arsenault
Margaret Atwood
Donna Augustine
John Ayre
Russell Banks
Francois Barcelo
Jean Barbe
Brian Bartlett
Jean-Claude Bauer
Nancy Bauer
Marie-Noëlle Bayle
Gwen Bear
Shirley Bear
Jimmy Beaulieu
Andrea Beck
Carolyn Beck
Helaine Becker
Gerard Beirne
Alain M. Bergeron
Jacob Berkowitz
Sophie Bérubé
Lise Bissonnette
Neil Bissoondath
Joe Blades
Marie-Claire Blais
Louise Blouin
Robert Bly
Christian Bok
Paul Bossé
Denis Boucher
Sophie Boucher
Édith Bourget
Huguette Bourgeois
Denise Brassard
Yvon Brochu
Ian Brown
Heather Browne Prince
Christian Brun
Régis Brun
Carol Bruneau
Catherine Bush
Sharon Butala
Laura Byrne Paquet
Marie Cadieux
Jonathan Campbell
Katia Canciani
Reynald Cantin
Roch Carrier
Arnaud Cathrine
France Cayouette
Patrick Chamoiseau
Éric Charlebois
Ann Charney
Herménégilde Chiasson
Lesley Choyce
Joan Clark
Austin Clarke
George Elliott Clarke
Deborah J. Clifton
Lynn Coady
Fred Cogswell
Fredric Gary Comeau
Germaine Comeau
Marie-France Comeau
Anne Compton
Christy Ann Conlin
Geoffrey Cook
Greg Cook
Allan Cooper
Kelly Cooper
Ann Copeland
Éric Cormier
Caterina Nella Cotrupi
Gil Courtemanche
Arlette Cousture
Gracia Couturier
Michael Crummey
Alan Cumyn
Herb Curtis
Wayne Curtis
Catherine Cusset
Myriam Cyr
Antonio D’Alfonso
France Daigle
Nicole Daigle
Mary Dalton
Jean-Paul Daoust
Carole David
Karen Davidson
Lynn Davies
Kwame Dawes
Monique Deland
Jean-Christophe Delmeule
Dominique Demers
Robert Denham
Patrice Desbiens
Louise Desjardins
Thierry Desjardins
Rose Després
Hélène Destrempes
Nuala ní Dhomhnaill
Nicolas Dickner
Robert Dickson
Philippe Di Folco
Richard Doiron
Michael Dolzani
Jeffery Donaldson
Stewart Donovan
Hélène Dorion
Jean-Pierre Dubé
Alain Dubos
John Dufresne
Daniel Dugas
Marilyn Dumont
Christiane Duchesne
Christine Eddie
Wallace Edwards
Bernice Eisenstein
Jo-Anne Elder
Elin Elgaard
Françoise Enguehard
Cary Fagan
Endre Farkas
George Fetherling
Nadine Fidji
Louise Fiset
Sheree Fitch
Charles Foran
Richard Ford
Léonard Forest
Jean Fugère
Madeleine Gagnon
Melvin Gallant
Steven Galloway
Maurizio Gatti
Guy Gavriel Kay
Nikki Gemmell
Sharon Gibson Palermo
Mylène Gilbert-Dumas
Glen Robert Gill
Rachna (Mara) Gilmore
Brigitte Giraud
Douglas Glover
Carlos Gomes
Lian Goodall
Branko Gorjup
Gilles Gougeon
Susan Goyette
Shauntay Grant
François Gravel
Annie Groovie
Emma Haché
Rawi Hage
Louise Bernice Halfe
Judith Hamel
Louis Hamelin
Don Hannah
Hélène Harbec
Doug Harris
Brigitte Harrison
Donald Harron
Ursula Hegi
David Helwig
Rainer Hempel
Nancy Huston
Laurence Hutchman
Joel Thomas Hynes
Maureen Hynes
Witi Ihimaera
Monique Ilboudo
Elisapie Isaac
Martine L. Jacquot
Alexandre Jardin
Mark Anthony Jarman
Alain Jaubert
K.V. Johansen
Wayne Johnston
Susan Juby
Monique Juteau
Jonathan Kaplansky
Naïm Kattan
Lynne Kositsky
Dany Laferrière
Michèle Laframboise
Ulysse Landry
M. Travis Lane
Patrick Lane
Carole Langille
Monique LaRue
Martine Latulippe
Charles Leblanc
Daniel Omer LeBlanc
Georgette LeBlanc
Gérald Leblanc
Raymond Guy LeBlanc
Emerise LeBlanc-Nowlan
Claude LeBouthillier
Ross Leckie
Rachel Leclerc
Sandra LeCouteur
Alvin Lee
Dennis Lee
Diane Carmel Léger
Dyane Léger
Ronald Léger
André Lemelen
Richard Lemm
Marilyn Lerch
Gilles Leroy
J. Roger Léveillé
Susanna Licheri
Christopher Lirette
Troy Little
Lesley Livingston
Douglas Lochhead
David Lonergan
Larry Lynch
Annabel Lyon
Kathy Mac
Anne Louise MacDonald
David Macfarlane
Linden MacIntyre
John MacKenzie
Brent MacLaine
Alexander MacLeod
Alistair MacLeod
Sue MacLeod
Matthew Magee
Antonine Maillet
Marguerite Maillet
Kevin Major
Alberto Manguel
Roberto Mann
Guy Marchamps
Michèle Marineau
Paul Marion
Lindsay Marshall
Catherine Anne Martin
Raymond Martin
Sandra Martin
Sharon McCartney
Elaine McCluskey
Jennifer McGrath Kent
Ami McKay
Don McKay
Phyllis McKinley
Catherine McKinnon
Wesley McNair
Janet McNaughton
John Meagher
Johanne Mercier
Rita Mestokosho
Annie Michaud
Mildred Milliea
Allison Mitcham
Shandi Mitchell
Fereshteh Molavi
Hélène Monette
Lisa Moore
Robert Moore
Cindy Morais
Donna Morrissey
Wendy Morton
André Muise
Jenny Munday
Cathy Brown Murphy
Glenn Murray
Derlemari Nébardoum
Gitpu Nevin
Lorette Nobécourt
Michel Noël
Jean O'Grady
Heather O’Neill
Kenneth Oppel
Albert Ostermaier
Denise Paquette
Daniel Paul
Stanley Péan
Harvey Pekar
Charles Pelletier
Maryse Pelletier
Pierre Raphaël Pelletier
Bryan Perro
Emily Pohl-Weary
Marc Joseph Edgar Poirier
Simone Poirier-Bures
Daniel Poliquin
Andrée Poulin
B. W. Powe
Beth Powning
Bernard Pozier
Marc Prescott
Monique Proulx
Stefan Psenak
Theresia Quigley
Michel Rabagliati
Jean-Philippe Raîche
Alain Raimbault
Jacques Rancourt
Robert Rayner
Kathy Reichs
Alice Anna Reese
Nino Ricci
Nancy Wilcox Richards
Noah Richler
Sylvie Roberge
Christian Roy
Maryse Rouy
Zachary Richard
David Adams Richards
Eden Robinson
Matt Robinson
Rino Morin Rossignol
Paul Roux
Albert Roy
André Roy
Camilien Roy
Christian Roy
Jean-Christophe Rufin
Peter Sanger
John Ralston Saul
Michel Savard
Jacques Savoie
Paul Savoie
Roméo Savoie
Robert J. Sawyer
Bernhard Schlink
Olive Senior
Gilbert Sewell
Danielle Simard
Anne Simpson
Yves Sioui-Durand
Anne-Marie Sirois
Johanna Skibsrud
Glenna Sloan
Alison Smith
Neil Smith
Russell Smith
Thomas R. Smith
Serena Sock
Karen Solie
Norbert Spitz
David Staines
Anthony A.C. Staples
Andrew Steeves
Fred Stenson
Craig Stephenson
Geronimo Stilton
Kay Stone
Christiane St-Pierre
Jessica Tang
Jeremy Tankard
Michel Tétu
Catherine Texier
Mario Thériault
Serge Patrice Thibodeau
Michael Thorpe
Harry Thurston
Miriam Toews
Patrick Toner
Lise Tremblay
Tony Tremblay
Elise Turcotte
Maxine Tynes
Sylvia Tyson
Jane Urquhart
Hélène Vachon
Francesca Valente
Joe Velaidum
Marie-Hélène Vézina
Guillaume Vigneault
Yolande Villemaire
Eleanor Wachtel
J.A. Wainwright
Germaine Warkentin
Darryl Whetter
Budge Wilson
Jean Wilson
Yvonne Wilson
Martin Winkler
Meg Wolitzer
Peter Yan

Northrop Frye and Moncton[edit]

Frye was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec. His father had owned a business in Sherbrooke but in 1919 the business failed and the family was without income or savings. In the fall of 1919 his father relocated his family to Moncton, where he began work as a commercial traveller. His mother was often depressed because of the family financial difficulties and because her oldest child, Howard, had been killed in the war. To her, Moncton was like an "exile."

Northrop Frye was seven years old when the family arrived in Moncton. He attended Victoria School and was quickly approved for Grade 4 because of his advanced reading ability. He attended junior high school in Sussex, New Brunswick and, at not quite 16 years of age he graduated from Moncton's Aberdeen High School near the top of his class. He loved bicycling the countryside around Moncton but his two main interests while in Moncton were his studies and piano. He studied piano with a very fine teacher, George Ross, and at one time thought of a career in music. He was a champion typist. His first romantic adventure was with a Moncton girl, Evelyn Rogers. But eventually his love of literature prevailed and in 1929 he left Moncton to study at the University of Toronto. His mother and father remained in Moncton. His mother died in 1941 and is buried in Moncton’s Elmwood Cemetery.

He famously described his early formal education as "a form of penal servitude" presided over by "a rabble of screaming and strapping spinsters."[1] But he admitted late in life that his high school education was a good one. In 1990, after a brief and triumphant return to Moncton where he lectured at the University of Moncton and was the toast of the town, he said, "They were two of the best days of my life."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quoted in John Ayre, Northrop Frye: A Biography, Random House, 1989, p. 34
  2. ^ Quoted in Reuben Cohen, A Time To Tell: The Public Life of a Public Man, Key Porter, 1998, p. 52

External links[edit]