Is Running A Reading Series A Rite Of Passage?

I went to Jarvis C.I. with Maria Meindl, although we didn’t know each other well back then. I was re-acquainted recently when she invited me to read at her Draft Reading Series

Here she waxes poetic on the closing of Book City, the murder of Emmanuel Jacques, and Britnell’s Books. The last two don’t make much sense unless you were there for Toronto in the 70’s.

Now I wonder–is running a reading series a rite of passage? I started Cat Sass Reading Series because I missed Peterborough’s The Cooked and Eaten, and had learned so much working on that project with Esther Vincent that seemed a shame to waste…and, perhaps most importantly, I had Cat Sass–who provided both a venue and enthusiastic partnership. But now I look around and wonder whether it’s part of becoming a grown-up writer. So many writers I know have started or worked on a reading series, including Sang Kim, Halli Villegas, Heather Wood, Sandra Kasturi, David Clink, Bruce Kauffman, Emily Pohl-Weary, and more. As with editing anthologies, it’s a way to gain insight into the lives and concerns of other writers, and as such, a way to break out of isolation and become a more active community member. I’m grateful I started working on collaborative projects decades ago, including theater pieces and journalism–so many emerging fiction writers of any age unfortunately seem every bit as self-obsessed as the most unflattering stereotypes make us out to be…


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