Writers ride the rails for Champlain


To commemorate the arrival in Ontario—400 years ensemble—of Samuel de Champlain, the Écriture en mouvement writer’s group assembled a team of 24 literary talents from France, Ontario, Acadia, Québec and the First Nations. They followed, by train, in the explorer’s “tracks” with an ambitious project—produce a book by 24 authors in a 24-hour, cross-country writing marathon.

The event took place as part of the Saison de la lecture de Montréal. Among those riding the literary train were the authors Bertrand Laverdure, Daniel Grenier, Jean Sioui, Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau and Rodney Saint-Éloi.

The train departed from Moncton, with the writers devising the story for their novel and creating its 24 characters, all of which have a link with Samuel de Champlain. The train stopped in Halifax, in Toronto, and of course in Montréal, where they received a special welcome—not just at the station, but at the Salon du livre Express, where they took part in a public discussion of Champlain’s legacy.

The culmination of their journey is a traveler’s book, Sur les traces de Champlain (“in the footsteps of Champlain”), published by Éditions Prise de parole—an impressive trophy for their bold gamble of exploration!