Celebrating International Francophonie Day at York

The Department of French Studies in York’s Faculty of Arts recently participated in international celebrations of francophone culture by hosting an afternoon reading featuring some of Canada’s best-known francophone writers. The event included the presentation of the Micheline Saint-Cyr short story competition prize. Marie Monique Nazroo, a York Faculty of Arts student majoring in French and Education, received the award for her short story titled “Le spectre de la grande rivière noire”. 

Well-know francophone authors Yves Préfontaine, Antonio D’Alfonso and Paul Savoie gave readings from a number of their published works. All three have earned the reputation of excellence for their writing. Franco-Ontarian writer Marguerite Anderson was also present to read from her work. Greetings were given by Professor Marilyn Lambert-Drache, associate dean of student affairs, Faculty of Arts; Professor Alain Favrod, Chair of the Department of French Studies, Faculty of Arts; Professor Ian Greene, master of McLaughlin College; and Young.

The event,  which took place on March 7,  was organized by York Professor Lélia Young, on behalf of York’s Department of French Studies, the Toronto French Writer’s Society and the Ontario Association of French Writers, with the assistance of York Professor Paul Laurendeau and York teaching assistants, Delphine Gomes and Sonia Boudelio. Young was the organizer of the short story competition.

Born in 1937 in Montreal, Yves Préfontaine (right) has led a multifaceted professional life dedicated to giving voice to Quebec’s cultural identity. As a professor of anthropology at McGill University and later, a professor of communications at the University of Quebec at Montreal, Préfontaine has also enjoyed an illustrious career in public service as a writer for many important Quebec publications; as a radio and TV broadcaster of Quebec culture; as the founder of the Rassemblement pour l’indépendance nationale; as assistant to the Quebec Minister of State for Cultural Development; and as a poet. 

Préfontaine is the author of some nine collections of poetry, several of which have won major awards. His most recent publication is Être, aimer, tuer (2001). His poetry has been translated into English, Spanish, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian and Croatian.

Antonio D’Alfonso (right) is a poet and essayist, whose talent has led him to contribute to francophone culture in script writing, editing, conference organizing and film making. In 1978, he founded the literary publishing company, Guernica, which has published hundreds of books by authors of many different backgrounds. In 1987, he was finalist for the literary prize, Emile Nelligan for his work, L’Autre Rivage [The Other Shore].

A poet and short story writer, Paul Savoie (left) has taught at the post-secondary level, been a writer-in-residence at several universities, and worked for the Canada Arts Council. In 1996, he was awarded the Literary Prize of the Consulate of France for his poetry.

Among his many roles, he has served as the president of the Society of Francophone Writers of Toronto, has been a member of the editorial board of the literary review Virages, and is a member of the executive committee of the League of Canadian Poets. He has published numerous works and is best-known for his poetry.

The well-known Franco-Ontarian writer Marguerite Andersen (right) received an honorary doctorate in 1999 from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS. She read excerpts from Parallèles, her last book, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Governor General of Canada Literary Award. Andersen is the director of Virages, a short story and literary review quarterly. (Photograph courtesy of the Journal Le Métropolitain.)