Synapse Candles

Concordia Reading Series Turns One

  • Canadian author Sheila Heti will read at Synapse this week.

The Concordia-based Synapse reading series is back in action this Wednesday, celebrating a first birthday of sorts.

Although the one-year anniversary of last year’s fall reading isn’t until Nov. 24 and the reading on Nov. 16 will be the second Synapse of the semester, this reading will mark the beginning of the project’s second year at Concordia after its creation in 2010.

Spearheaded by creative writing professor Sina Queyras, and curated by creative writing students Steph Colbourn, Deanna Fong and Lizy Mostowski, the series aims to feature local, published and developing writers.

For Mostowski, who’s written for The Link in the past, the series has grown significantly since its birth. “I’m proud of what it’s become,” she said. “I’m proud the word ‘synapse’ has a new meaning in the community’s vocabulary, and that established writers want to read at the series we’ve started up, and of the reputation we’ve built.”
She credited the project’s success to Queyras, however, saying, “It’s all Sina.”

But Synapse is not growing alone. From hosting events and staying poised when something goes wrong to choosing appropriate line-ups, Mostowski said she’s also learned a lot as a curator. “Curating, I think, has made me a stronger editor,” she said. “It seems to be all about intuition most of the time, and we know that when we all come to a stomach-settling agreement, that we’ve made the right decision.“

Each reading advertises approximately four authors, often including Concordia creative writing students, and a mystery author or two, revealed during the course of the evening.

“We always know ahead of time who the special guest readers are,” said Mostowski. “And try to make it so that the people reading ahead of them give a good feeling [or] introduction to their work.”

This upcoming reading will see a mix of two different styles, opening with Colin Fulton and Concordia creative writing grad Celyn Harding-Jones. “[They] are, in my opinion, more conceptual,” she said. Then, Mike Chaulk, Editor-in-Chief of Concordia’s The Void literary magazine, will read a “series of sonnets,” followed by “Linda Besner and Sheila Heti, who are not conceptual at all.”

Synapse will go forward as a quarterly event and the February edition will be completely dedicated to conceptual writing—the first of the series to have a theme.
Colbourn sees this as an opportunity for conceptual writers. “I think that as writing continues to change we need to change with it,” she said. “And there are not enough opportunities for conceptual writers to display and read their work.”

After that, the spring edition will have a different focus. “We plan on asking for translations—this means translations between languages, genres, etc.,” said Mostowski. “We have a secret pre-determined schedule. Shhh.”

Synapse / Nov. 16 / 7:00 p.m. /
VAV Gallery (1395 René Lévesque Blvd. W.)

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