Authors read works at book launch
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Douglas College’s Creative Writing department celebrated another year of remarkable student prose at the annual Pearls anthology book launch on March 21. The event included nine author readings that ranged from fiction and personal narrative to poetry and scripts. Several of the readings had a comedic element, which got the crowd laughing and made for a delightful evening.
Instructors from the Creative Writing department introduced each student before a reading and included many positive remarks about each author.
“If there were a prize for romantic comedy—which we don’t have, I’m sorry—Whitney Sharp would win it. She has mastered this form,” Glenda Leznoff said as she introduced Sharp’s play, Sex Versus I Love You, which is featured in Pearls 33.
In order to perform the scripts with multiple characters at the event, students brought classmates and friends with them to read the other characters’ lines. Sharp played her lead character while a classmate, Joshua Grant, who is also featured in Pearls 33, played the character’s female roommate as well as her male date. Blake Rayment’s Demon Stephen, which was the last Pearls 33 reading of the evening, required three readers to fill the roles.
The event also featured poetry readings, which had varying styles and themes, but one common element was prevalent: the poets wrote about food. From Zack Billyard’s Infinite Serpent about students lining up at the Tim Hortons, to Laurie Mackie’s Green Apples and Salt, to Danny Sabernezhad’s Sampling Gelato Ice Cream, it seems that if there is one thing on college students’ minds it’s food.
After the author readings, Calvin Wharton, the chair of the Creative Writing department, announced two winners for the Maurice Hodgson Memorial Award and scholarships.
The silver award and $500 scholarship went to Kira Russell, who presented her acceptance speech along with an original poem called Grace written from the perspective of her great-grandfather about her great-grandmother. The gold award and $1000 scholarship went to Cole Klassen, who read an acceptance speech and a fantasy story called Dove With Red Eyes about a bride-to-be who seeks to hire a man who deals in curses.
Copies of Pearls 33 were available for sale at the book launch and sold out before the event ended. The anthology can be purchased at the Douglas College bookstore.
Nobody’s Babysitters (an excerpt from ‘Pearls 33’)
By Joshua Grant, Contributor
I shut the door quietly. With a worried look at my partner-in-crime, I slipped out of my jeans (it’s okay, it doesn’t matter) and slumped onto (careful) my side of the bed. We could hear the Voice in the other room talking on the phone, but couldn’t make out the words. I felt bad, that is to say guilty, but not too bad, and also kind of good, but that might have just been the beer. We flicked off the lights. With a mumbled goodnight I fell into a perhaps dreamless and certainly guiltless sleep.
When I woke up, it was to a strained and wavery rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” filtering through the wall behind the headboard. These walls were very thin, I thought, or else the Voice was singing very loudly. Her inability to hold a note coupled with her persistence was eerie. I worked my tongue over the dry interior of my mouth and turned over in the hotel bed. Taryn was staring at the ceiling.
“That’s totally not what people sing when they’re plotting murder, right?” I asked.
Taryn laughed. “Yup.”
Read the rest of the story in ‘Pearls 33’