With 35 years of dedication to the heart of Quebec publishing, Johanne Guay is the winner of the Fleury-Mesplet Prize, awarded Thursday at the Montreal Book Fair.
Behind the successes of popular authors such as Kim Thuy, David Goudreault and Janette Bertrand, the Vice-President Publishing of the Librex Group said she was very touched to inherit this honor underlining her strong support for local literature. “It’s moving to receive this from your peers. I am still shocked.”
Evolution and export
Since her beginnings at the general management of the National Association of Book Publishers in the mid-1980s, Johanne Guay has played a role in the evolution of things in publishing.
Although nothing destined her for this environment other than the fact that she devoured books as a teenager, today she is very proud of many changes, including that of the place that women have taken.
“When I started, 35 years ago, there were a few women president-owners of their publishing house, but they were a lot of men,” she recalls. There is more a balance there and I find that great. ”
The one who will pass the torch next year is also delighted by the renown of Quebec authors. “The quality of writers we have in Quebec is fabulous. In 35 years, there has been a long way [parcouru]. To see all these writers now translated abroad, it makes me very proud. ”
“There are authors who are nominated for major French awards … And I have the chance to publish Kim Thuy. When you have an author that you sell in 40 countries, and who is almost expected by the media at the airport, it’s quite amazing … “
For her, it is imperative to underline the remarkable journey of Quebec writings abroad. “We sold more than 700,000 copies of Dr Béliveau’s“ Foods Against Cancer ”abroad, including a few hundred thousand in Germany. What makes me happy in this is the export of brains which is not only at the level of science. “
The return of fiction
In the literary world, the arrival of COVID-19 has also changed many things.
“Fiction in Quebec took the edge for several years, says Johanne Guay. A beautifully sad thing happened last year: the pandemic. She made us stay at home, and sales of novels have gone up exponentially. I’m not just talking about quantities; fiction has resumed its rights. People have returned to the need to read fiction, to dream, to cry … “
The power of words then made itself felt again. “Booksellers have discovered selling books online and websites have become more important. What I find extraordinary is that booksellers have never been so strong … “
Public readings, round tables, confidences; there is virtually something for everyone at the Montreal Book Fair, until Sunday.
The author and actress Frédérique Dufort speaks to young people with “Miss Perfect … TELLEMENT PAS!” A chat for girls AND guys! ”.
- Starting at 1:30 p.m.
Director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and screenwriter Catherine Léger discuss the adaptation of Geneviève Pettersen’s work, “The goddess of fire flies”.
- Discussion begins at 2:30 p.m.
Read me MTL: the “public reader” Olivier Courchesne talks to author and actress Debbie Lynch-White to talk about literature.
Because it is important to prepare meals at home, food enthusiasts Véronique Bouchard, Lesley Chesterman, Geneviève Everell and Jean Soulard talk about “Cooking and confinement”.
Quebec novelists have carved out a place for themselves in the world of thrillers and make various female characters shine. Chystine Brouillet leads a meeting around detective novels.
- The discussion started at 1 p.m.
Kim Thuy knows how to tell stories. The acclaimed author has just published “Em”, her most recent novel. This is the perfect opportunity to chat with her.
- A tête-à-tête from 2 p.m.
Leaking is a theme that inspires writers here, as it can prove beneficial for anyone in need of a life change. David Goudreault, Hélène Dorion and Valérie Garrel discuss it with Tristan Malavoy.
- Round table at 2:30 p.m.
During the public reading “Poems to change the face of the world”, 13 imaginaries vibrate thanks to the words, to the rhythm of a language and a memory to salute.
- The show kicks off at 5 p.m.
The prolific Michel Tremblay always has so much to tell. The new secrets of this essential of Quebec literature promise to be rich.
- The interview begins at 6 p.m.
▷ All the details of these events and the complete program at salondulivredemontreal.com.