From March to May 2023, Nelly Desmarais will be attending a writing residency at Librairie La Maison des feuilles (Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie). This residency, developed by the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), is accompanied by a cultural mediation project that aims to familiarize people visiting the bookstore with the writer’s work. The project also reinforces the cultural transmission role that booksellers play in their community. This residency comes with a $7,000 grant from the CAM, and receives logistical support from the Association des libraires du Québec (ALQ).
Nelly Desmarais holds a master’s degree in literary studies, creative writing, from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Since January 2021, she has been the deputy administrative director at Le Quartanier Éditeur. In March 2022, she published her first poetry collection, Marche à voix basse, a book on the preliminary list of the Prix des libraires du Québec. She has also published several creative texts in various journals, including Moebius, Projet F and Nouveau Projet.
Her cultural mediation project, entitled Cartographie des coïncidences, is part of the theme proposed by the bookstore: Reenchanted Montreal.
“Through this residency, I hope to work on the notion of synchronicity and chance, that is to say on the ordinary magic of the coincidences that the urban space makes possible, especially chance encounters, which can be particularly striking. I am very interested in writing about the urban experience, and this winter I published an initial collection of poems in which I invested the Hochelaga neighbourhood from a personal point of view. This residency project represents the continuation of this work and a deeper exploration of this approach. The city is home to potentially magical, transformative, striking and irreversible encounters. A whole tradition of writers and poets have wandered the streets at random in search of such encounters, and sought to call them forth. This is a tremendous environment for artistic exploration, and collecting stories and testimonials will give me access to experiences other than mine, to the magic of the stories of people living in the city who will be visiting the bookstore.”