Incite: An Exploration of Books and Ideas is a new reading series curated by the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival and hosted by the Vancouver Public Library. It takes place every second Wednesday evening at 7:30pm in the downstairs rooms at the VPL Central Branch.
I attended the first two events and can’t wait to see more readers throughout the Spring. Some confirmed attendees include 2010’s Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Joanna Skibsrub, Lorna Crozier, Timothy Taylor, Susan Juby, Joyce Carol Oates, Jen Sookfong Lee, Evelyn Lau and more.
On Wednesday, January 26 I attended the inaugural Incite event with Amber Dawn, Michael Christie and Andrew Pyper. All three authors were incredibly charismatic, interesting, and amusing.
I’d already read Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn and had really enjoyed it. I was looking forward to hearing Amber read and discuss the book, especially from the perspective of a queer woman. I also picked up The Beggar’s Garden by Michael Christie that night, which was it’s first day out in the world. Andrew Pyper’s novel didn’t really sound like my kinda thing, but based on his reading, I’d definitely suggest The Guardians for those interested in thrillers and crime novels.
I enjoyed the author’s introductions, their readings and the Q&A afterwards. I think the whole event was very well done and it had the feel of a traditional Writer’s Fest reading but the accessibility of a free Public Library event.
The second evening, Wednesday, February 9, was a discussion of Making Waves: Reading BC and Pacific Northwest Literature with editor Trevor Carolan and contributing writers Colin James Sanders, Russell Thornton and Hilary Turner.
Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this evening as much. I did enjoy the contributing writers but I would have preferred to have them discuss their work rather than read. While I do appreciate their writing skills, reading non-fiction essays aloud is a much difference experience than reading fiction. The rhythm is much different and I find with non-fiction I prefer a less structured storytelling.
I felt like the host Trevor Carolan was trying too hard to be intellectual and was alienating the audience a little. There were long pauses and silences between his overly-in-depth question and the authors attempting an equally eloquent answer.
That being said, once they got into the discussion and Q&A, it was an interesting talk. They touched on a number of the writers who contributed to the Pacific West Coast’s literary scene (from California up to British Columbia) as well as discussing the themes and ideas surrounding West Coast literature. I didn’t purchase the book that evening (no cash) but I may pick it up at a later date.