La Francofête is back (virtually)

Poetry, a quiz night, industry secrets and interactive lectures...Francophones and Francophiles, students and employees of McGill, all are invited to join online celebrations of the Francophonie

La Francofête is back!

For the past five years, the Centre d’enseignement du français (CEF) in McGill’s Faculty of Arts has organized Francofête to mark the International Francophonie Day (March 20). This year, we may not be able to raise a glass (in person, at least) to toast the vibrant French language and culture on McGill’s campuses — but the CEF is still offering a fun variety of online activities and events to engage McGill’s francophones and francophiles. This year’s virtual Francofête runs from March 22 to April 2.

Each year, the CEF uses Francofête to showcase the many francophone and francophile initiatives, as well as individuals, at McGill, with a goal to raise awareness of their work, create connections and celebrate their successes.

Natallia Liakina, Director of the CEF and one of the organizers of the Francofête, explains that the festival is a multidisciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration — “a mosaic where each unit, department or group can find its place.”

To that end, Joannie Proulx, Coordinator of Student Activities at the CEF, said that this year’s festival will include the debut of a series of video vignettes entitled Regards sur la francophonie mcgilloise “that will highlight different initiatives and individuals who contribute to the spread of French on our campuses and in the community.” The videos will be posted on social media sites during the Francofête celebrations.

She notes that this year’s all-online format has the added advantage of “allowing us to come together and celebrating the Francophonie from anywhere in the world!”

This year’s activities (en français bien sûr) include:

  • “Percez les secrets de l’industrie… en français!” (Thursday, March 25 at 4 pm):
    As part of the French at Work series, the CEF and Career Planning Service (CaPS) invite you to meet Bianca Baldo, a facilitator with the Intersol Group. The McGill Law grad will discuss the skills needed in her field, the advantages and disadvantages of the various sectors in which she has worked, and the importance of French in her worklife.
  • Open mic poetry night (Thursday, March 25 at 7 pm):
    Share your favourite poems or read your own creations! Book your spot in advance. (But there will be time for walk-ups.) Presented by the Association des étudiant.e.s en littératures de langue française, en traduction et en création inscrit.e.s aux études supérieures de l’Université McGill (ADELFIES) and the Association générale des étudiant.e.s de langue et littérature françaises (AGELF).
  • “Voyage au centre de la scène” (Friday, March 26 at 5 p.m.):
    Join dramaturge Étienne Lepage and a troupe of performers on a voyage through the worlds he has created over the past 15 years. From hallucinatory tales to philosophical flights of fancy, his multi-faceted pieces explore the very heart of the human experience. Lepage will discuss his artistic motivations, as well as the sometimes unexpected discoveries he’s made along the way.
  • Trivia night (Friday, March 26 at 6 p.m.):
    Come test your knowledge about McGill and Montreal. Prizes to be won!
  • “Conférence intimiste avec Étienne Lepage” (Monday, March 29 at 2:30 p.m.):
    If you love Quebec theatre, but don’t already know Étienne Lepage, then you’re in for a treat with this interactive lecture. The Le ravissement playwright will discuss his need to challenge societal norms, his relationship with words and the emotions they produce, and the role that art can play in being an engaged citizen.

All activities will be live on Zoom.

There is also still time to participate in two Francofête 2021 contests:

  • Francophi-LIS reading contest (deadline: Friday, March 19):
    Are you learning French? Do you want to practice your oratory skills – and maybe even win a prize? Enter the École de langue de l’UQÀM’s Francophi-LIS contest! Just choose a short text by a French-speaking author, explain why you like it, and then read it out loud. (Three-minute time limit.) Register by contacting
  • Creative writing contest (deadline: Wednesday, March 24):
    Got the pandemic blahs? A little creative writing may be just what you need! Le Délit and the CEF invite McGill students to their creative writing (maximum 1,000 words). Entries will be judged in two categories: French as a Second Language students and French-speaking students. Prizes include a copy of Antidote 10 and gift cards!

Check out the full calendar of Francofête activities.