Akim Gagnon returns to Granby for the Book Fair

Akim Gagnon returns to Granby for the Book Fair
Akim Gagnon returns to Granby for the Book Fair

The organizing committee could hardly have overlooked Gagnon for this initial version. Firstly because he remains attached enough to his hometown to include it in the title of his second novel, Granby in the simple past. And also because this offering with a very strong autobiographical flavor was a finalist at the last Prix des libraires du Québec Gala.

No one would spit on a $10,000 purse, of course, but Akim Gagnon is not embarrassed to have finished behind Emmanuelle Pierrot and The version that interests no one.

>>>Akim and Karl Gagnon (aka VioleTT Pi) have come a long way since the period described inGranby in the simple past. (Martin Tremblay/Archives La Presse)>>>

“I knew 100% that Emmanuelle was going to win. I could have bet anything, but I didn’t worry about that. It’s a bit of a shame that everything is still a question of prizes and trophies, but at the same time, I have a lot of respect for booksellers, who do a job that is both difficult and very important,” commented the 34-year-old author in interview with The Voice of the East.

“I don’t know exactly what people liked (about my novel), but over time, I realize that when you talk about yourself, you often talk about everyone. After two pages, my father becomes the reader’s father. The staff can become extremely collective,” he argued.

Leave to flourish better

The father in question is named Richard Gagnon, as we learn at the very end. However, we had plenty of time to discover a loving man, ready to do anything for his two boys, but also consumed by a deep depression and a separation from which he found it very difficult to recover. His personality matches the tone of the novel: at first rather comical, and then increasingly heavy.

The trio’s daily life is far from always rosy in a mobile home that is falling into disrepair. Both prodigal son and main painkiller, Akim himself will have to deal with growing anxiety.

His departure for Montreal, the day after his 18th birthday, is presented as an enormous Source of escape, and even liberation. Fifteen years later, Akim assures us, however, that he has “never been at war with Granby”.

“No one chooses their hometown, it’s imposed on you and you don’t have a say. And if you have even the slightest artistic vision, it can quickly go in circles, becoming an echo chamber. To do what I had to do, I simply had to leave,” summarized the one who recently added the poetry collection two for one to a portfolio also including numerous audiovisual works.

When leaving for the metropolis, he once followed the advice of his former theater teacher, Martin Gougeon. Recurring character of Granby in the simple past, Gougeon will lead an interview this Sunday called “Return to Akim Gagnon’s Past”. It will start around 1 p.m., still at the Notre-Dame Center.

At the time of writing these lines, the versatile creator knew very little about the subjects that would be discussed, but he had complete confidence in his interlocutor.

“When we meet again after a few years, the bodies have changed, but not the minds, so the discussion resumes in the same place. For me, Martin will be a friend, mentor and idol for life.”

Abundance and free

Coincidence or not, Jean-Marie Lapointe will also be present at the Salon on Sunday to talk about the book Our Last Journey, in which he recounts the last years of his relationship with his late father, the famous Jean Lapointe.

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Album cover documents “Nutshimit: A Forest Bath,” written by Melissa Mollen Dupuis and illustrated by Elise Gravel

Melissa Mollen Dupuis will present a conference in the middle of the afternoon. The adopted Granbyian worked with popular illustrator Elise Gravel to design the documentary album Nutshimit: a forest bath, among the best sellers in Quebec in 2023, all categories combined. This approach allows him to raise awareness of the environmental cause among young audiences, but also to honor his Innu roots.

The entire weekend at the Salon is intended for the general public, but special attention will be given to families on Saturday, when spokesperson Simon Boulerice will hold two signing sessions.

Children’s literature will first be in the spotlight on Thursday (school level) and Friday (preschool). We must also highlight the thematic evenings scheduled for Thursday (poetry), Friday (mangas) and Saturday (investigations).

Remember that thanks to the support of several partners, including the City of Granby, all programming is completely free.

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