Thursday, June 20, 2024

Centenary College’s Tintamarre press to be featured at international book festival in Montréal

by BIZ Magazine

Centenary’s Éditions Tintamarre has been selected as the featured publishing house by the Book Festival of Montréal (Salon du livre de Montréal, or SDL), the second largest French-language book festival in the world with nearly 700 major publishing house booths. Approximately 150,000 people are expected to visit the festival at Montréal’s Palais des congrès from November 22 through 27.

Centenary will be represented at the festival by Dr. Dana Kress, executive director of the Centenary College of Louisiana Press and recently retired professor of French, Dr. Andia Augustin-Billy, associate professor of French and Francophone Studies, and Dr. Ryan Doherty, who joined the College this fall as assistant professor of French. Their participation in the festival will be generously underwritten by SDL, the Centre de la Francophonie des Ameriques, and the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) through the Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor’s Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.

The Centenary Press is best known for Éditions Tintamarre, its heritage language imprint dedicated to preserving and publishing American literature written in languages other than English. Evolving from a student publishing project in the 1990s, Tintamarre has grown to encompass nearly 80 titles that showcase the original literature of the individuals who have contributed to Louisiana’s diverse culture, including French, French-Canadian, German, Spanish, African, and Caribbean peoples.

The Tintamarre booth in Montréal, featuring a life-sized recreation of a Cajun cabin and a live oak, will be situated at the center of the festival’s exhibition hall. With an expansive front porch adorned with swings and benches, the one-of-a-kind installation is designed to provide an immersive experience of Louisiana’s Francophone culture and encourage interaction between festival patrons and authors. According to Kress, the festival is making a significant investment in the design and construction of the Tintamarre booth in order to create a space where patrons can converse, relax, and listen to stories from Louisiana and around the French-speaking world. For a full schedule of readings and activities centered in the Louisiana SDL booth, visit salondulivredemontreal.com/projets/louisiane-enracinee-et-branchee.

“The fact that the SDL has chosen to put the spotlight on Éditions Tintamarre shows that we have arrived,” said Kress. “I expect that the leading publishing houses in France and Canada will be eager to have access to our books at they see an opportunity to expand sales. One meeting has already been scheduled with a national consortium of Canadian publishers. We are known in the French-speaking world, even if the English-speaking world hardly knows we exist.”

In addition to the contingent from Centenary, the Festival has invited five writers published by Tintamarre to speak at the event. Kirby Jambon, Barry Ancelet (writing as Jean Arceneaux), Evelyne Bornier, and Ryan Doherty will give presentations in Montréal, while poet David Cheramie is unable to attend due to his overlapping invitation to appear at an international poetry festival, Rencontres Poétiques Internationales de Dakar, in Dakar, Senegal.

As Tintamarre gains international recognition, the press maintains its connection to its origin as an academic project, allowing Centenary students to be directly involved with its day to day operations and providing many unique opportunities for hands-on learning in the sphere of writing, editing, and publishing.

“Students have always played a major role at the Éditions Tintamarre,” explained Kress. “Currently, two students are preparing editions – one is working on a complete collection of the poetry of May Waggoner, a Louisiana poet, and another is preparing an edition of Charles Testut’s Les Filles de Montécristo, a 19th century novel. Six Centenary students had works that appeared in Contes Merveilleux, a work that will be featured in Montreal! Several students are doing internships with the press, learning all sorts of things about the publishing world: everything from book design, shipping issues, Library of Congress cataloging in publication requirements—the list is long.”

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