It’s hard not to root for Blue Metropolis, the annual literary festival that gets underway today. Though the public has never flocked to it like, say, the Jazz Festival, Blue Metropolis has established itself firmly in the city. This year, it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Organizers have always shown serious dedication to celebrating international writers, with plenty of English-language events to keep anglo readers entertained. Past guests include the late, lamented Norman Mailer (who was surprisingly genial), as well as Susan Sontag, Mavis Gallant and Marjane Satrapi.
This year doesn’t feature as many big names, at least to English-speakers, but the program is no less intriguing than usual. Featured is a former cab driver (Daniel Pennac, the French writer who won the International Literary Grand Prize this year); an Egyptian dentist (Alaa El Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building, the movie version of which opened here recently); a prominent science writer (The Sexual Paradox author Susan Pinker); a mafia chronicler (Roberto Saviano, who wrote Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System); and a fruit fanatic (Adam Leith Gollner, author of The Fruit Hunters and former editor of Vice).
There’s also writing workshops, cartooning programs, as well as countless lectures, Q&As and readings on subjects as diverse as post-Communist writing, science fiction, freedom of the press and haikus: surely enough to appeal to the tastes of any reader or aspiring writer. April 30 – May 4, see metropolisbleu.org or call (514) 937-BLEU for details.