Latest edition is publication’s largest anthology ever
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
The Douglas College creative writing department has compiled its latest annual anthology of students’ work in Pearls 33. The collection of stories, scripts, poetry, and more exemplifies course content taught in the program and will be available at the book launch on March 21.
Nine of the 65 student writers featured in the book will present five-minute readings at the event, which will include a variety of genres. Creative writing instructor Glenda Leznoff believes this will be a definite change for those students who are used to reading in front of their peers in the classroom and not in front of a formal audience.
“To stand up in front of an audience of friends and strangers does make people nervous, but I’m always so impressed that they rise to the occasion. We select writers whose work we think lends itself to a good reading, and people who aren’t too terrified to get up and have their work read,” she said.
Print Futures student Whitney Sharp will be at the event to read an excerpt from a script she wrote that was selected for publication in Pearls 33. A couple of her classmates will accompany her for the reading to recite some of the characters’ lines in the script.
“It was really exciting to find out that my work had been selected for Pearls,” she said. “I’ve never read my work at a Pearls launch before so I’m a little nervous, especially since my piece is a script, but I’m sure it will come together.”
This year’s anthology is larger than previous editions, with over 350 pages of students’ finest creative writing. The instructors say the book is a testament to the superior writing quality and skill that these students have learned.
“Every year when we put this together, we’re always constantly amazed at the risks that students are taking, the things that haunt them that they want to write about, the skill level,” said John Vigna, an instructor in the Creative Writing and Print Futures programs.
“For most of these people, it’ll be their first publication credit,” he said. “It’s a real highlight for any young writer to get published.”
In some cases, Pearls is only the start for students who choose to take their work to production.
“Some of my former students have gone on to take plays that they’ve written in my classes into productions either in the Fringe Festival or in small, self-produced things. They do get their work out there,” Leznoff said.
The Pearls 33 book launch will also include the presentation of the Maurice Hodgson’s Award, which includes a $1,000 gold scholarship and a $500 silver scholarship. The award is named after the late creative writing instructor who helped create Pearls and who played a major part in the creative writing department at Douglas College.
The event will be held at 7 p.m. on March 21 in the Studio Theatre at the Douglas College New Westminster campus.