Location: Vancouver Film School Cafe, 392 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC
The Thursdays Writing Collective, comes to a close after ten years, and will mark the occasion by launching their final book, From the Heart of it All: Ten Years of Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a anthologizing past and present work.
“This anthology is a culmination of our ten-year journey,” explains Elee Kraljii Gardiner. “We held the first of our free, drop-in creative writing sessions on February 14, 2008. In that decade Thursdays Writing Collective has done what it set out to do, times ten . . . The program draws to a close but the literary friendships and relationships we have formed amongst ourselves are permanent. The voices in this book will endure beyond this moment.” Carnegie Community Centre, which has supported and housed TWC since its inception, remains committed to engaging with and supporting the literary community of the DTES.
In its ten years of operation, TWC has supported a flourishing literary community within Vancouver’s DTES, including 600 hours of writing in community with DTES residents and a collective that has grown to over two hundred people. “We share our writing, improve our writing skills and make connections within Vancouver’s literary community,” TWC writes on its website. In addition to publishing ten chapbook anthologies featuring authors who identify as Indigenous, People of Colour, mixed race and white, trans and queer folks, survivors, and many other intersectional identities from different backgrounds and with ages ranging from 18 to 87, TWC has also enjoyed camaraderie with DTES programs and organizations including Megaphone, Hives for Humanity, UrbanInk, SFU, UBC Humanities, The Learning Centre at Carnegie Community, Union/Pitt Gallery, and others.
“We have written the DTES into the literary history of the city and the country in a way no one foresaw and our mark is permanent,” Kraljii Gardiner notes in her introduction to From the Heart of it All. “[O]ur books are housed in the Special Collections Library of Simon Fraser University, the Vancouver Public Library and the National Archive of Canada, but it is the individual growth that carries most weight.” TWC writers have acquired skills, experience, book deals, MFA degrees, Jesse awards, and other literary accolades, as well as the more personal markers of confidence, social-connection and participation in an active literary community.
From the Heart of it All: Ten Years of Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (Otter Press, 2018) guest edited by Heidi Greco, with cover art by TWC writer and painter Leef Evans, will launch April 12, 2018 at the Vancouver Film School Café, (390 West Hastings Street, Vancouver) from 7-9pm. The free and accessible event will be hosted by former TWC co-ordinators Amber Dawn and Elee Kraljii Gardiner.
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