carte blanche seeks to expand its pool of bloggers in support of our regular literary magazine. We want writing that explores some aspect of literary and artistic culture in Montreal, Quebec, Canada or the wider world. You can feature an event, a trend, a movement, an anecdote, an experience or whatever you think might engage the public in a literary topic. Dug that poetry reading last night? Irritated at that famous writer’s new interview with Book Riot? Up in arms about a literary feud? Give us the skinny!Read more →
I am bad at saying no. As part of a better-late-in-life-than-never self-improvement exercise, I try to turn down extra work—especially the non-paying variety.
So last summer, when Michelle Sylvestre of the Make A Wish Foundation phoned to tell me about a volunteer opportunity—Raphaëlla Vaillancourt, a young survivor of a life-threatening illness, wished to publish a book and needed mentoring—I referred Michelle to Lori Schubert at the Quebec Writers’ Federation.
A few days later, Lori contacted me. If the QWF could fund a mentorship for Raphaëlla, would I take the job?
Kembrew McLeod is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He is a prolific author, filmmaker, and prankster. His latest book is Blondie’s Parallel Lines (Bloomsbury, 2016) the 111th book in 33 1/3’s series on classic albums. Brad deRoo nerded out via email to get to some intersecting lines from Kembrew McLeod for carte blanche this April. Read more →
In the hospitality room at the Hôtel Gouverneurs in Trois-Rivières, you are greeted by two perky volunteers whose first question after introductions is: “Will you three be reading the French translations of your poems yourselves, or will you be requiring the services of a French reader?” Oh, my, you think. What translations? The hotel carpet begins to yaw under your chair. What was I thinking coming to a poetry festival in a city whose population is 97 percent French—without translations?
Deni Ellis Béchard is a journalist, novelist, memoirist, photographer, and activist. He has published three books, the first of which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was translated into French, Arabic, and Russian. His articles and photos—often about human rights, women’s rights, and the conservation—have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines, including the LA Times, Salon, The Guardian, La Repubblica, Vanity Fair Italia, The Solutions Journal, The Harvard Review, The Herald Scotland, and Foreign Policy Magazine.
Kris Bertin is from Halifax. His stories have appeared in The Walrus, The Malahat Review, TNQ, and PRISM International. He has twice won the Jack Hodgin’s Founder’s Award for Fiction and has appeared in The Journey Prize Anthology. His first collection of short stories Bad Things Happen (Biblioasis, 2016) has received very good reviews in the Toronto Star and Quill & Quire – good thing too, because it is it a gritty, funny, and memorably weird book. Brad de Roo avoided a lot of bad things on the internet to interview Kris Bertin for carte blanche this March. Read more →
I had tapped into a vibrant community of punk writers who crafted great stories and then cut and pasted their work together, photocopied it, and released it with no thought of gaining attention from the world of mainstream literature. These were my first literary heroes. In a time before our current memoir boom, they wrote honest and true stories full of grit and heart. Read more →