‘Pearls’ of wisdom

‘Pearls 32’ is now available at Douglas College bookstore

By Livia Turnbull, Humour Editor

Spring is here and that means another edition of Pearls, the Douglas College student anthology, is due to hit the shelves. To celebrate their 32nd anthology, Douglas College hosted a Pearls book launch on Friday, March 22. We spoke with Calvin Wharton, organizer behind the book launch, to find out what to expect from this anthology.

Pearls 32 is our largest-ever issue of the anthology,” said Wharton in an interview with The Other Press.It’s packed with great Douglas College student writing, as usual. I always love the range and variety of work we get to publish.”

The annual Pearls book launch helps showcase some Douglas’ best and brightest creative writers.  Students from nearly every creative writing course were selected to read their work. Anna Heffelfinger read her children’s story, “Watch Out for the Crocodiles,” while Matthew Visser read his poem called “Rain.” As dozens of guests were packed inside the Studio Theatre, the small room swelled with emotion.

“The annual Pearls launch is always an energetic, exciting event. And rightly so. The students have worked hard and now get to showcase some of the results of that hard work with the book and the student readings,” said Wharton.

Former radio personality Janice Ungaro helped capture some that energy and excitement with her own personal recount of her experiences as a morning radio host sleeping in Vancouver Eaton’s store for charity in
“Dog and Pony Show.” However, the most exciting part of that evening was finding out the winner and runner-up of the Maurice Hodgson Creative Writing Award of Distinction.

Maurice Hodgson is considered to be one of the godfathers of creative writing at Douglas College. Without Hodgson, the creative writing program would not exist. Hodgson also helped found the literary magazine Event and the student anthology, Pearls. When Hodgson died after serving the college for 20 years, the Maurice Hodgson Creative Writing Award of Distinction was created in honour of his achievements. This year’s runner-up was Tiffany John, who received a certificate and a cheque for $500. The winner of the award itself was Stephanie Toth, who received a certificate and a cheque for $1,000.

For many people who are published in Pearls, their writing career is just beginning. “Many of the writers published in Pearls will go on either continue studying creative writing or to work on their writing outside of writing program. We believe that studying writing from the perspective of a writer can enrich anyone’s life and academic career,” said Wharton.

For those students who wish to appear in Pearls 33, Wharton offers a piece of advice: “Students who would like to see their work published in Pearls or anywhere else need to read widely and carefully. And, of course, to write a lot. Writing is a process that takes time and skill.”