Indie lit night

Reading Time: 2 minutes

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

It may have been pouring rain yesterday, but inside The Starlight Lounge the mood was anything but dreary. Words Worth Books, a local bookstore in Uptown Waterloo, teamed up with four of Canada’s indie publishing companies — Book Thug, Coach House Books, ECW Press and House of Anansi — to put on the annual event “Indie Lit Night”.

“I went to UW and my brother went to Laurier, so we kind of had our university years in Waterloo and when I started working at Coach House we often did launches in big cities like Toronto,” said Coach House Book publicist Evan Munday, when asked about the inspiration for the event.

“I thought because Waterloo is only an hour and a half away [from Toronto] it would be really cool to do something, I mean there’s a great book store in town and there are great venues. There’s a large student population studying English. We figured it’d be a literary town. We thought it’d be great to team up with a bunch of small presses and do an event in Waterloo.”

Featuring Canadian and local literary talent such as Richard Crouse, Angela Szczepaniak, Stacey Madden and Sarah Pinder, the night was a fairly balanced mix of fiction, poetry and even film history.

Everything was done very informally, but it only added to the charm of the night.

Starlight looked more like an intimate and romanticized café than the bar setting that the average Laurier student is used to seeing on a Saturday night. The writers were equally intermingled with general audience members, causally drinking and complimenting each other on their novels.

The fear that this event may simply be a night of pretentious artistes reading terrible poetry and short stories, while horribly intoxicated, soon dissipated once Matthew Tierney came on stage. His book of poetry Probably Inevitable published by Coach House, was heavily influenced by his physics minor and questions themes such as philosophy and the concept of time.

“[‘Carbon Monoxide, Alka-Seltzer and the Slow Pitch of Acceptance’] is riffing on, well, I was doing a lot of reading about time and the science of time and the fact that this grid of time that we have over our lives like sort of civilized by the clock and we have time as sort of this pervasive influence,” said Tierney.

When asked if he had any advice for upcoming writers, Tierney responded, “You can’t get too far ahead of yourself, you’ve got to read and you’ve got to write. You have to accept the fact that you’re going to write badly. Learning to write badly is hard to do but you have to forgive yourself for your mistakes.”

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