Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Community and Creativity

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I live in a west-end neighbourhood called Brockton Village, which realtors used to describe as “up and coming” and now (dubiously) label “trendy”. Over the eight years I’ve resided here, I’ve come to love this ‘hood. Its streets inspired my second novel , Six Metres of Pavement. I know people here, helped to start the local residents’ listserv, and two years ago, along with poet and café owner Melanie Janisse, began the Brockton Writers Series.

Although I’ve organized many events in the past, this is the first time I’ve curated a monthly reading series. Each month brings new talent, challenges, and changes.

Initially, we planned to highlight locals (it seemed that every other resident was a writer), and eventually we widened our scope to welcome the many out-of-area writers who requested time at the mic. The audience grew and we moved out of Janisse’s café. We were welcomed by St. Anne’s church (known for it’s Group of Seven paintings), and we use their chancel (amazing acoustics!) for free.

We added a half-hour writers’ networking time before each performance, during which we encourage emerging and established writers to talk with one another (and they actually do). We sometimes invite guest speakers who work in the publishing world to share their knowledge. There are new volunteers: Sharanpal Ruprai (co-curator), May Lui (writers’ networking facilitator) and Suzanne Sutherland (bookselling volunteer).

This year, I’m hoping we’ll find a way to pay the writers better (it’s currently a pay-what-you-can entry, and writers go home with a paltry sum). We’d also like to find an equally wonderful neighbourhood space that’s wheelchair accessible.

As an activist, what I love about the Brockton Writers Series is its community building. We’ve got regulars, but the event doesn’t feel cliquey. We’re intentionally inclusive, which means that we take special care to ensure a diversity of voices at the microphone.

As a writer, what I love is that the event creates space: for art, for inspiration, to support artists. I often leave feeling invigorated, wanting to write, nourished.

Come check it out! We meet next on Wednesday, September 7th. Writers’ networking begins at 6:30pm and this month’s special guest is Sandy Crawley, from the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada. The show starts at 7:10pm (sharp! hey, it’s a school night) with readings by Pratap Reddy, Jessica Westhead and Mayank Bhatt.

You can find out more about it HERE. Stay in the loop by joining our Facebook group.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is a Toronto-based author and the recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Grant for an emerging gay Canadian author (2011). Her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, received critical acclaim and earned a devoted readership upon its release in 2007. She is currently touring her second book, Six Metres of Pavement (Dundurn 2011).

Go to Farzana Doctor’s Author Page