By Natasha Evoy
The white snow and the bitter cold of January were the backdrop for our first artist in residence in 2022, Montreal writer Pier Courville.
Unperturbed by the winter weather, perhaps even a little inspired by the confinement imposed by the cold, Pier recounted during her cultural mediation activity that she had a particularly productive stay at the DAR Studios, sometimes working from the early hours of the morning until late at night.
It must be said that Pier had to take advantage of, even savour the solitude offered by her stay at the residence, a creative break from her daily life busy with movement and distractions: the lot of a writer, mother of three children, not to mention her other job as a reader and translator!
“Real life” and its concerns are the materia prima for this writer whose favoured form is autofiction, both for Petits géants, her first book, and the story she was working on during her residency in Sutton.
During the cultural mediation on Zoom, the Franco-Ontarian writer shared her approach, her creative process, and her sources of inspiration with about twenty persons. She then read an excerpt from her current manuscript: the self-fictionalized story of a pre-teen girl who, in the 1980s, leaves her hometown of Sudbury to settle with her family on the Plateau Mont-Royal. She also read from her book Petits géants, a mother's moving account of her twins' premature birth and the first weeks of their lives.
It was a generous and intimate exchange, despite the interference of the digital platform and a less than perfect internet signal. With thoughtful and insightful questions from Marie Clark, herself a writer, the discussion allowed participants to learn more about this frank and sensitive writer.
I think everyone left the meeting with the same feeling one gets when reading Pier Courville's books: the impression of having received a gift, small, delicate and chosen with great care. One is moved, grateful.
We look forward to the publication of Pier Courville's next novel and will follow her literary journey with great interest.