Welcome to Rover’s new blog dedicated to the literary scene in Montreal, written by yours truly. The name belongs to a reading series I run here in Montreal. In my last year at Concordia, eager to get my writing and voice ‘out there’, I looked around and was surprised by the lack of readings focusing on young, emerging writers.
Sure, there was The Pilot at The Sparrow and Synapse at the VAV Gallery, but both were run out of the English department, and existed for the university crowd. Nothing wrong with that (I have a BA in Creative Writing), but not the type of environment that would draw my friends outside school.
This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not began in January of 2012 in Andrew Griffin’s Mile End loft, with something like 15 writer friends and a Facebook event. It’s a sassy statement. Usually you go to a reading and you’re maybe 80% bored. You’re going to talk through it or diddle with your phone. With This Is Happening, we try to find the most exciting readers we’re aware of, pairing spoken word with a couple of live music acts and djs.
It’s an assertive name, one that demands its place. I’ve come to learn that, as writers, we need to demand our place. An if there is none to demand, we need to create our own.
This blog is an extension of This Is Happening’s original gesture – an assertion that there is a literary scene here worth writing and knowing about.
Since then, This Is Happening has flourished – four official readings drawing crowds from 50 to 100 people, plus a couple of apartment open mics and a 12-hour writing marathon in the basement that houses Petite Mort magazine in the heart of Outremont.
These events have allowed me to get to know a diverse community of Montreal writers, editors, publishers and lovers of the written word.
I find myself drawn to and fascinated by the people behind the literature, which is why this blog will feature profiles of local writers, publishers and bookshops that stir my interest, podcasts of readings and interviews, explorations of people’s bookshelves, coverage of local readings and whatever else captivates me.
The young literary scene in Montreal has truly blossomed in the past couple years. There are more readings, more people attending readings and overall an enthusiasm regarding the written word. Please join me on this blog as I venture through the veins of Montreal’s literary scene.
A. E. Opheim
IMAGE: Jay Mark Johnson