Writers Read literary events in full swing this month

Concordia’s reading series continues to create a platform where students can interact with writers

Writers Read aims to build a community built on literature. Courtesy Bridget Mountford

Writers Read is Concordia’s reading series that puts on events throughout the school year with an aim to create a sense of community built on literature, and to introduce new opportunities to students.

The series invites authors, poets and writers of all sorts to speak at the events and to share their work and professional insight with students. For the month of March, Writers Read planned four events, two of which you can still attend. The March events featured poets Kaveh Akbar, writer Marina Warner, and still to come, author Sheila Heti. 

“My vision for the series is to create opportunities for students to be in a room with other students and members of the community, to hear people they might not necessarily hear, and to hear those people in different contexts,” said Writers Read director Sina Queyras.

Queyras is a creative writing professor at Concordia University, and this upcoming fall will mark their 10th anniversary of directing the series.

They believe the series opens up the minds of those who attend and allows new ideas to spread within the community.

“I think the classroom can be a small and sealed space. It’s important for people to realize that writing is a dynamic and live thing,” they said. “It’s not dead on the page and it’s not limited to one imagination or one answer to any given question or possibility.”  

As for what’s to come this month, on March 26, Writers Read is hosting a COVID Anti-versary Howl, which welcomes participants to share pieces of writing that resonated with them throughout this past year. On March 30, the event series is hosting a reading and conversation with author Sheila Heti. 

“Writers Read’s mission is to revel in writing as a community and to experience words together. To be able to share language and really be present in language as a community.” — Olive Andrews

Writers Read curator Laura Mota said it’s all about community. Mota explained when they plan events, Writers Read always keeps in mind ways to allow space for connection between participants.

As a transfer student from Vancouver, Mota said taking part in Writers Read events allowed her to feel more settled in the community.

“It’s the first time I felt part of the Concordia community,” she said.

The events allow students and community members to feel inspired and a little less alone, Mota said.

“In these events, you see authors that you respect and love saying it’s normal to struggle. The way they speak about the craft personally comforts me and inspires me to write more,” she said.

Like many things, Writers Read looks a little different this year because of the pandemic. All the events now take place online. However, curator Olive Andrews explained Writers Read has been busier than ever hosting more events than usual to keep the community of writers connected. 

“We just want to be able to keep people involved and present in our community, the way we would be in normal times. You know, have as many opportunities to write and connect as possible,” Andrews said.

Since it has become virtual, Writers Read has been keeping up with new series besides virtual events, as a way to help stay connected. This year, a pop-up reading series was created where people take videos of themselves reading either original work or work they enjoy then share it on Writers Read social media. Their social media also showcases their interview series with writers and their writing prompt series for those looking for inspiration. 

“The purpose is just to get the community writing, to have a shared experience and mimic what we would be doing in a masterclass,” Andrews said. “Writers Read's mission is to revel in writing as a community and to experience words together. To be able to share language and really be present in language as a community.” 

The events are open to anyone interested and you can sign up through the link on the Writers Read Instagram and Twitter pages. 

Andrews explained it’s part of Writers Read’s mission to make literature accessible to everyone. 

“I would say come out, it’s a cool time,” they said. “We really want as many people who want to come, to give it a shot and not feel intimidated by the series or by the events.” 

Keep up with Writers Read on Instagram