By Casey Stepaniuk
This is a bittersweet post for me to write, as it’s about the last installment of one of my absolute favourite Vancouver events. Reverb is a queer reading series that has been running for 4 ½ years and this spring’s event is their final one! Hosted and curated by two local queer writers Leah Horlick and Esther McPhee, Reverb is obviously a labour of love. In its own words, Reverb is “an anti-oppressive, reading series for queer writers on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land in Vancouver.” Over the years Reverb has featured a plethora of amazing local and visiting writers, some emerging and others well-established, such as Listen Chen, Amber Dawn, Daniel Heath Justice, RJ Edwards, Hasan Namir, Cecily Nicholson, Vivek Shraya, Jen Sung, Hiromi Goto, Pragya Esh, Lucas Crawford, Antonette Rea, Christina Cooke, Larissa Lai, and SO MANY MORE.
The spring 2017 reading will feature an awesome set of Reverb alumni. The line-up is Amal Rana, Jillian Christmas, Raven Salander, Fayza Bundalli, and Ben Keane-O’Hara. You can expect to hear poetry and stories of all kinds. Amal Rana is a Pakistani, mixed-race poet/performer whose work “explores the intersections between the divine and the profane, between tenderness and revolution and love and resistance.” Jillian Christmas is a well-known organizer in Canada’s poetry community who you may have seen perform AMAZING slam poetry or in her capacity as co-director of Verses Festival of Words. Raven Salander has been writing since her teens; she’s also been “a 19-year-old transsexual for over 30 years.” Fayza Bundalli is a poet who also works in counselling and somatic bodywork. Ben Keane-O’Hara is a writer who “moves towards stories of unknown mixed and poc ancestry, trans and queer identities, and the way light catches on the curve of a belly.”
The things I appreciate about Reverb are pretty endless, but in particular, I love: their careful attention to accessibility; their commitment to intersectionality; their consistence in featuring a majority of queer and trans authors of colour; and the sheer diversity of the types of writing they have featured, from all kinds of poetry, graphic memoir, science fiction, fantasy, personal essays, and contemporary fiction. For anyone organizing queer (literary) events in the present or future, Reverb is a shining example of how to be deeply community-minded, really take intersectionality and accessibility to heart, and nurture fun, empowering, invigorating spaces.
This last installment will not only feature readings by each of the writers described above, but will also have “cake and other delights, a photobooth and community feedback station, and most likely some emotional speeches.” Don’t miss your last chance to attend Reverb! Check out the Facebook event to RSVP and for more info on all the writers being featured, accessibility, and more.
When: Monday, June 12th; Doors at 6:30, show at 7:00 sharp
Where: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews
How Much: $ 5 at the door, but no one turned away for lack of funds
Casey Stepaniuk is a writer and librarian-in-training who runs the website Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, where you can find LGBTQ+ Canadian book reviews and a queer book advice column. She also writes for Book Riot. Find her on Twitter: @canlesbrarian
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