Inaugural “Interim Reading Series” in Kingston!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the first event in the brand-new Interim Reading Series in Kingston, which is being organized by my friend Michael Casteels. I’ve mentioned Michael a few times here before; in addition to this new series, he is also an accomplished poet and founder of Puddles of Sky Press.

There were a few of my friends from the Kingston writing community in attendance yesterday, and the comment I heard the most from them was: “I can’t believe you came all the way from Ottawa!” My response was something along the lines of, “Meh, it’s only a two-hour drive.” And that’s honestly how I feel. These kinds of events are part of what being a writer is all about, and if it’s within my means to support a writer like Michael, who I greatly respect and admire, then how can I not show up? If anything, I wish I could make the trip to Kingston more, so that I could attend the readings organized by Thrive, by my mentor Carolyn, and drop in on the monthly Poetry at the Artel.

But I digress. The first Interim Reading was delightful. Two of the three works particularly stood out to me (the third not so much, but that’s because it was poetry, and I’m really hit-or-miss on poetry; my wife thought Anne-Marie Turza’s reading was great). First was Jason Heroux, reading from his new novella We Wish You a Happy Killday, in which society celebrates an annual holiday where everyone can register to attempt to kill one other person and escape being prosecuted. The passages Heroux read were really entertaining, making me think of The Purge but with a literary twist. My wife and I had the same thought about how society would sustain itself if people are freely killing each other every year, but according to Heroux this is part of the point; he said in the Q&A that Killday presents a society that actually wants to die, which makes the premise even more intriguing.

Christine Miscione’s reading from her novel Carafola was probably the most engaging. Someone commented that the passages she read were incredibly visceral and raw, and I couldn’t agree more. It also helps that Christine is a phenomenal reader; we actually read together a few years ago, the first time I ever read my work in public, and she’s only improved since then. My only regret is that I couldn’t afford to buy the book while we were there (sorry, Christine!) but it’s now on my list for when I replenish “Brandon’s epic book-buying fund.”

All in all, I’d say the event was a great success, and I’m hoping that Interim carries on as a new addition to the community of Kingston literary events. The next reading, featuring five new writers, will be on February 28.

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