Check out ‘Pearls 31’ at a Douglas bookstore near you!
By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ach spring, the Creative Writing Department updates and releases an anthology book entitled Pearls. Many of you creative writing and English students are already aware of this, but for those that aren’t, Pearls features a collection of the best writings by Douglas College students who’ve taken creative writing courses in the past year.
This year’s edition, Pearls 31, debuted with the annual Evening of Pearls book launch. The free event, which took place on Friday March 23, featured readings of selected short stories, poems, and other works by several of Douglas College’s finest writing students: Laura Cuthbert, Avalon Doyle, Bryce Tarling, Morgan Nicholsfigueiredo, Renee Barry, Will Richter, Leslie Sakata, Matt Szekeres, and Theresa Henry-Smith. Accompanied by music, each reading brought a different perspective of style and content based on the many different talents involved in this year’s publication.
Every rendition of Pearls has specific pieces selected by a team of creative writing professors at Douglas. Glenda Leznoff, who teaches screenwriting (film and theatre screenplays), personal narrative, and fiction, was one of the professors who worked on Pearls 31. Leznoff shared a few words with us in regards to process behind and the content of this most recent edition.
[quote style=”boxed”]Pearls 31 can be picked up at your local Douglas College bookstore. Do yourselves and your fellow students a favour, and take the time to read what these brilliant minds have created.[/quote]
“This issue includes poetry, fiction, personal narrative, and scripts (play and film),” she states. “Students who are signed up for any of [the creative writing] courses are potential candidates for Pearls. At the end of each term, the CRWR [creative writing] instructors select the best pieces of writing from his or her classes, and then pass this work to another instructor for editorial judgment. This ensures that each piece is read by an impartial judge.
“We look for excellent writing that displays a high level of skill and entertainment value. Over the years, the size of Pearls has expanded—this issue represents almost 50 writers.” Leznoff elaborated by saying, “Perhaps the larger issue is due to the increased number of courses we offer in creative writing, and also to the quality of students we are attracting.”
As an occasional student of creative writing courses, I can say it’s true that there’s been something of an upturn in the standard of student writings; it’s amazing to find what some of your peers can produce. It was in one of Leznoff’s Writing for Film classes last year that I was given the pleasure to hear readings from one of her personal picks in Pearls 31, entitled “Rum for Wisdom” by Brock Zawila, which Leznoff went on to state was “this year’s winner of the Maurice Hodgson award.”
Amongst her other picks from this year’s Pearls, Leznoff said, “I haven’t read all the pieces, so I can only speak to the ones I’m familiar with. [That said,] Leslie Sakata wrote a fascinating story, “Universal Point After,” based on her experience as a hostess in [a] bar in Japan. [Another is] Morgan Nicholsfigueiredo, [who] wrote a comic and touching story about the childhood fort that was built in his backyard.”
Pearls 31 can be picked up at your local Douglas College bookstore. Do yourselves and your fellow students a favour, and take the time to read what these brilliant minds have created. Who knows, you may even be inspired to become the next featured author in Pearls 32!