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Frye Festival History
Northrop Frye's presence has always been felt in Moncton. Whether it was as a young boy, riding along the streets of Moncton on his bicycle, or upon his last visit to Moncton when many people came to hear him speak, he has left an indelible mark on the city.
In November of 1990, at the invitation of Professor Serge Morin, Northrop Frye returned to Moncton to deliver the Pascal Poirier Lecture at the Université de Moncton. During his stay he had the chance to meet and talk with many Monctonians, and he was able to visit his old home and the grave of his mother in Elmwood Cemetery. 'They were two of the best days of my life,' he reported to fellow Monctonian, Reuben Cohen. The following year, after Frye's death in January 1991, The Northrop Frye Society hosted a gathering of Frye-ites, and John Ayre, Frye's biographer, delivered the Pascal Poirier Lecture.
Under the Directorship of Paulette Thériault, the Aberdeen Cultural Centre (formerly Aberdeen High School) celebrated the legacy of Northrop Frye by unveiling a plaque in his honour in 1994.
In 1997 the City of Moncton, under the chairmanship of Paulette Theriault, developed an Arts Policy. As part of this policy it was recommended that the city have a festival to honour Northrop Frye. But it wasn't until December 1998, during the production of a Vision TV documentary in Moncton, that the real seeds of today's Frye Festival were sown.
During this television production, entitled "Voices of Vision," John Ralston Saul and Antonine Maillet engaged in a one-hour dialogue about creativity, in both official languages. For festival visionary and founder, Paulette Thériault, more than any other event, this event filmed at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre sparked her imagination and made her believe that a bilingual literary festival, celebrating a great man, a vibrant cultural community and highlighting Atlantic and Acadian authors, was a possibility.
As they say, the rest is history! During 1999 Paulette Thériault gathered together a team of volunteers within the literary community. Additionally, through the visionary support of David Hawkins (formerly of Hawk Communications) and Ron Gaudet (formerly of the Greater Moncton Economic Commission), the Festival that was a dream became a reality.
In its first year more than 3,000 people attended the Festival. In 2006 more than 10,000 people attended. The Frye Festival has become one of the major literary events in Canada, and continues to grow every year. Almost 300 award-winning authors, from every continent and recipients of almost every major international literary prize, have now attended the Festival. The Festival is the proud recipient of the 2005 Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award.
The Frye Festival is the only bilingual festival in the Atlantic Region and is the only festival in the world to honour Northrop Frye.