Tucked inside the Wilfred Laurier Library is the quaint Robert Langen Art Gallery, which on Thursday February 9th was the location for the Balderdash Reading Series hosted by Sanchari Sur. The Balderdash Reading Series is monthly event which aims to represent and celebrate culture, art and academics. This was a public reading featuring three talented writers, Emily Urquhart, Tamara Jong, and Dane Swan. At five past seven, the presentation began.
The first reader, Emily Urquhart, is a non-fiction writer who has received many awards for her work, including the Globe and Mail Best Book 2015, a National Magazine award, BC Book Prize as well as Kobo First Book Award. She is Laurier’s current writer in residence and during Thursday night’s reading, she presented a piece which she said was inspired by the brave students who had came to see her. “If they can do it, well then maybe so can I” she stated. Her piece was new work, still unedited and raw with emotion. The creative non-fiction piece which was an excerpt from an essay she’d been working on was about her brother’s sudden death which haunted her for many years to follow.
The second reader of the night was Tamara Jong, who is a non-fiction writer. Her work has appeared in The New Quarterly, Ricepaper, and Room. She read her short story that she had written four years ago entitled “Kindergarten Tales”. She described the piece as “kind funny and a kinda sad”. The piece ranged from her childhood and the difficulty’s of tying her shoe, to her adult life and her loss of faith.
The last reader of the night, Dane Swan, is a short story writer and poet, he has published two poetry collects and a short story collection. Swan was soft spoken when first walking up to the microphone to introduce himself and his pieces. Yet, once he delved into the pieces, he became passionate, his voice boomed and his hands gestured wildly as he spoke. In one particularly emotional section he yelled out “you!” and pointed an accusing finger at the audience which was very effective. The passion brought his work to life and proved that the poet is his own best sales man.
After the readings, there was a short Q and A section with the authors. The audience had many questions ranging from their inspiration, difficulty with publishers and their view on other arts. Overall there was a positive reaction from the audience.
Photos and Article by Emma Davis, First Year, English and Film Studies