QWF Awards Tonight!

four minutes to midnight four minutes to midnight. expozine. photo Rachel Levine

Tuesday, November 18, the annual Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards will be held at the Corona Theatre. Over the course of the evening, many well-established writers as well as promising up-and-comers, will be awarded for their hard work over the past year.

The Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF), based in Montreal, is an organization dedicated to English language writing and literacy in Quebec, which has been in operation since 1998. The QWF is so dedicated, in fact, to literacy that it hosts around 30 writers’ workshops a year. The workshops, which usually last about eight weeks, are incredibly varied; they range from screenwriting workshops to memoir workshops to poetry workshops. The QWF also offers mentorship programs in which an aspiring writer is matched up with an established writer for four months. The two then work together on whatever project the aspiring writer is aiming to accomplish and at the end of the four months, there is a reading event where the aspiring writers read their finished works to an audience which includes publishers. The QWF has grown immensely over the years with almost 700 members. As executive director (as well as awards ceremony organizer) Lori Schubert, says, “We’re dealing with a language minority, so we’re pretty proud of our numbers.”

Tuesday will mark the 16th anniversary of the QWF Awards under that name (the awards were originally started in 1988 under the name of QSPELL) and the first year with a theme. The theme is “Great Women of Words” and will be celebrating, you guessed it, talented women in Canadian writing, such as Alice Munro and the late Maya Angelou and Mavis Gallant. Their annual Community Award has even been renamed the Judy Mappin Community Service Award and will be presented to the ever-deserving Elizabeth Macdonnell. The QWF decided to name the community award after Judy Mappin after her passing earlier this year. Mappin was incredibly devoted to Canadian literature, even opening her bookstore, The Double Hook Bookstore, which was the first bookstore in Canada to sell exclusively Canadian books. The winner of the award, Elizabeth Macdonnell, is also very passionate about literacy, especially here in Montreal. Macdonnell is a librarian at the Montreal Children’s Library and has been inspiring a love of reading in children for over thirty years. The evening will be hosted by author Merilyn Simonds and will feature a performance by local singer/artist Moe Clark. Before the ceremony begins at 8:00 on Tuesday, there will be a cocktail at 6:30, which Schubert especially looks forward to as the authors and others can mingle and “relax and enjoy the party.”

The QWF Awards are an event not to be missed by any book-lover, but especially those who love Canadian literature. In fact, 2014 Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels will be making an appearance. All, in all, it will be an evening celebrating the rich literary culture that Quebec has to offer. “Not everybody knows that we have so many great writers here, in English,” says Schubert, “Anybody who’s interested in reading and literature should come out on Tuesday.”

For more information about the QWF, please visit their website.
The 2014 QWF Awards Gala takes place November 18 at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre (2490 Notre-Dame West).
cocktail dînatoire & ceremony, 6:30 p.m. ($50 regular; $40 full-time students)
Ceremony only, 8:00 p.m. ($20 regular; $10 full-time students)

Tickets to the ceremony will be available for purchase starting October 27 at Argo Books, Babar en ville, Bibliophile, Clio Bookstore, Paragraphe and The Word.
Tickets to the cocktail dînatoire are available in the QWF office only (1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3).