New Brunswick

Cultural laureate brings literary festival to Fredericton

The festival, called Word Feast, will host several award-winning poets and writers.

Ian LeTourneau, Fredericton's first cultural laureate, organized the upcoming Word Feast Festival

Ian LeTourneau is Fredericton's first cultural laureate. He was appointed to his position in February 2016. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC )

After 18 months working to raise the profile of the arts in New Brunswick's capital city, Fredericton's first cultural laureate is winding down his term with the creation of a week-long literary festival.

Ian LeTourneau, who was appointed as cultural laureate in February 2016, is organizing the event.

Word Feast will run from Sept. 18 to 24, and will host a range of activities including book launches, readings, panel discussions and workshops for aspiring writers. 

These books are written by authors who will participate in Word Feast, a festival focused on cultural literacy. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC )

As part of the festival, LeTourneau has also partnered with anglophone schools in the Fredericton area to help teach kids the fundamentals of writing — from character development to the art of comic book writing.

"It's going to be a full-fledged literary festival, comparable to what they have in Moncton at the Frye Festival," he told CBC's Information Morning Fredericton.

The festival headliner is Toronto-based writer and editor Rebecca Rosenblum.

"She'll be coming to town and delivering the first annual Word Feast lecture," said LeTourneau.

One of LeTourneau's poems can be found on the pedway over Saint Anne's Point overlooking the Saint John River. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC )

He said lectures like that one are what he's looking forward to the most.

"The lecture … it's one of the things that attracts me most to Fredericton is the intellectual and cultural exchange of ideas," said LeTourneau.

While the literary festival will cap off LeTourneau's time as cultural laureate, it's just one of many accomplishments during his 18 months in the role.  

'It's been a challenge'

He worked with the local library to host a series of workshops for adults and children, and he was required to write several poems for special occasions.

"It's been a challenge, one that I've actually enjoyed," said LeTourneau.

"Just to think about the city, I probably ended up with some poems that I wouldn't have ended up with otherwise."

One of LeTourneau's poems is on display along a popular walking spot — on the pedway bridge over Sainte Anne's Point Drive, overlooking the Saint John River.

One of LeTourneau's poems is on display in downtown Fredericton. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC )

"I think I've accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," said LeTourneau.

A new cultural laureate

The position was created to diversify the culture and represent the artistic voices in New Brunswick's capital city.

According to the city of Fredericton's website, LeTourneau acted as a representative of the city. He was tasked with celebrating the city's history and relevant features of its present-day social, cultural and economic makeup.

His term wraps up at the end of December. In the meantime, the city is looking for his replacement.

Applications for a new cultural laureate are being accepted by the city of Fredericton. The deadline is Oct. 27.

For LeTourneau, he said it's time for him to focus on his own writing. In a month, he will have a book published out of Victoria called Core Sample.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton