Christina Myers will be the featured reader at a virtual Alberni Valley Words on Fire on Wednesday, May 13. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Alberni Valley Words on Fire goes digital

Spoken word event will feature the editor of a provincial best-seller

The editor of a provincial best-seller will bring her new anthology to Port Alberni via videoconferencing.

Christina Myers, editor of the BIG anthology, will appear as a feature reader on the new Zoom version of Alberni Valley Words on Fire spoken word open mic, coming to laptops around the Alberni Valley on Wednesday, May 13.

Alberni Valley Words on Fire has gone digital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, using videoconferencing to bring feature readers and open mic readers together twice a month.

“This is actually a step up for AVWOF, with events on the second and last Wednesdays of the month,” said Char Patterson of Char’s Landing.

Patterson began hosting Zoom events in the spoken word series with the successful launch of Both Sides Now, a short story anthology by local writers Derek Hanebury, Vicki Drybrough and Libbie Morin.

“This was very well-received, the readings were inspired and the connection between participants was really wonderful,” said Patterson.

“While the coronavirus has been difficult for those planning brick-and-mortar events worldwide, with innovation and a spark of creativity, there are things we can do to help literacy and our community thrive.”

Char’s will be the first brick-and-mortar venue to be featured in Quite Determined: Fed Road Trip 2020, a rolling digital provincial videoconferencing venue from the Federation of British Columbia Writers (FBCW).

Organizer Jacqueline Carmichael is the Islands rep for the Federation. She hopes the series will bring readers and writers together around the province.

“Writers and readers around B.C., as everywhere else in the world, have had their voices muffled by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “In different times, there would be small readings and book launches and writer gatherings and book clubs, in person, over coffee.

READ MORE: Veteran Vancouver Island journalist pens pandemic tale for children

“Writing is often a solitary endeavour as it is, and with health concerns prompting social distancing and quarantine measures, we are reaching out to connect the virtual dots between writers and readers,” Carmichael added.

The Quite Determined series provides a showcase for writers whose brick-and-mortar book launches fell through. So far, Kootenay poets Jane Byers, Lyn Crosfield and Susan Andrews Grace have been featured in the provincial effort, as well as the writers of Both Sides Now.

“We’re very jazzed about Surrey writer Christina Myers joining us for the online Alberni Valley Words on Fire,” Carmichael said.

Myers is the creator and editor of BIG: Stories About Life in Plus-Sized Bodies (Caitlin Press, 2020), a collection of non-fiction by 26 writers from across Canada, the US and the UK. The book made the BC Bestseller list shortly after it was released in February of this year.

“She’s an amazing writer, and the remarkable new anthology she has pulled together features great writing of writers from around Canada and beyond,” Carmichael said.

Myers is an alumnus of The Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University, a member of the FBCW and she juggles stay-at-home-parenthood and her creative work from behind her desk in Surrey, BC.

Carmichael, the author of My Read-Aloud Tales About Social Distancing (2020, KDP) and Heard Amid the Guns: Little True Stories from the Western Front, (Oct. 2020, Heritage House) will join Myers as the local feature reader at the newly-risen-from-the-ashes Alberni Valley Words on Fire on Wednesday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

The event will be held on Zoom will be moderated by AVWOF’s Stephen Novik. This will be an open-mic event, with readers welcome to sign up to read starting at 6:30 p.m.

Links to the events can be found on Char’s Landing website and on the Federation of BC Writers’ website at BCwriters.ca.

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