Essay winners will be welcomed to 2019 Blue Metropolis literary festival

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 1:06pm



Essays are based on an excerpt from a work from a First Peoples Literary Prize winner.

University of New Brunswick student Matthew LeBlanc from Natoaganeg (Eel Ground) First Nation is the English-speaking winner of the Blue Metropolis McConnell Foundation Student Essay-Writing Competition.

His essay was titled “Understanding the Indian Condition”, which was inspired by Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, winner of this year’s First Peoples Literary Prize.

Nine Canadian universities promoted the competition among students enrolled in First Peoples Studies or First Peoples Literature programs. The competition presents two awards: one to an English-speaking student, the other to a French-speaking student.

Essays are based on an excerpt from a work by the foundation’s First Peoples Literary Prize winners. The essays provide a personal, critical and political response to the excerpt.

LeBlanc said that with the help of his mother’s wisdom, he was able to overcome adversity and become a proud young Mi’kmaq man. He treasures his culture and community; he worked this past summer as the Youth Coordinator for his community’s health centre and plans to serve his community’s youth for years to come. 

“This award brings great pride to me and my family.”

His essay can be read here:

The French-speaking winner is Coline Souilhol from the Université de Montréal. She won for her essay “La responsabilité du conteur d’histoire face aux perceptions historiques”, which was inspired by Histoires et vérités: Récits Autochtones (The Truth About Stories) by Thomas King. 

Souilhol studied English literature in Grenoble, France, before starting her Master’s at the Université de Montréal. She is interested in North American literature and history, First Peoples literature, and transnationalism.

Her essay can be read here:

The 2019 Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival will welcome the winners of the Student Essay-Writing Competition to the 2019 Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival in Montreal from May 2 to May 5 where they will receive $1,000 each. The programs in which they are enrolled will also each receive $1,000. 

To highlight the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, the 2019 festival will present an entire series of events devoted to Indigenous voices and literatures.

For more information about the festival visit