Public Readers at the Bistro for St-Jean Baptiste Fundraiser

Olivier Courtois, Liseur Public

A program run by the Carrefour jeunesse emploi de Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve youth employment agency), public readers read poetry and short excerpts of books to members of the general public. Aimed chiefly at those 16 to 35, this program has been at work since 2019. They show up at public events around the neighborhood and beyond, to interest people in reading and writing, especially when it comes to Quebec authors.

At the end of the reading, the reader will offer you the book for free! A shock.

They’ve had such success that the Liseur Public program has since been implimented in St-Jérome, Trois-Rivières and Québec City, with a hand from the original Hochelaga-Maisonneuve program.

Olivier read me two poems from the book La panse by rapper-urban poet Jérémy McEwen: Un bagel and Croissants. Definitely appropriate for an all-you-can-eat brunch! He and a whole “brigade” of readers, six in all, descended on the Bistro that morning.

“We try to find punchy extracts, those pertinent to the occasion,” Olivier explains. “That creates sparks.”

Why was the Bistro full? From now until St-Jean Baptiste Day, every Saturday morning between 10 am and noon, the Bistro is holding an all-you-can-eat buffet for only $20 per person. Eggs, sausages, bacon, beans, hash browns… Coffee and orange juice… The goal is to raise money for a Hochelaga-Maisonneuve St-Jean Baptiste celebration. A Quebec festival that has sadly gone unmarked in this cradle of Quebec culture neighborhood for far too long!

For reservations of fewer than 10 people at the Bistro, phone (514) 223-8116. For reservations of 10 or more, phone (514) 256-9000.

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