Reading in the eye of the storm

Lauren O'Donnell
September 16, 2019
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes
Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

Supercrawl is an explosion of creativity, bringing the arts to life for three days every September. With thousands of visitors amongst live music, food vendors calling out orders, and animated art installations, the commotion can be overwhelming. The Author’s Tent provided a haven away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. The setup was simple; ten chairs, a microphone and a table piled high with books beneath an open tent. The lights inside made it feel intimate and inviting while still giving passersby the opportunity to stay and listen to stories. Here are a few summaries of events that were offered at the tent:


Terrifying reads

The first reading was on the evening of Friday the 13. The moon was almost full and the sky threatened rain. A cool breeze drifted through the tent, enough to make someone’s hair stand on end. It was soon to be a dark and stormy night. This reading featured works — both published and unpublished — from authors Nathan Ripley, C.S. O’Cinneide and David Nickle. Topics ranged from mass shootings and haunted pilgrimages to gin-craving ghosts. Gasps and laughter drifted onto the street and drew a crowd of listeners. Nightmares were promised and delivered. 


Writing the city

Saturday afternoon brought about a discussion of writing in Hamilton. The panel included Ryan McGreal, editor of Raise the Hammer, and Taien Ng-Chan, a founding member of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit as well as a professor at York University. The panel was moderated by Noelle Allen, a publisher at Wolsak and Wynn (280 James Street N.). The panel spoke to the idea of rediscovering Hamilton  — seeing something familiar as if it were for the first time. The panel encouraged listeners to take time to notice the city while walking through it. For instance, they suggested that visitors try walking through Jackson Square along where streets used to be. 


Women on the poetry mic

Saturday evening featured poets Natalee Caple, Jaclyn Desforges and Julie McIsaac. Both song and spoken word filtered out into the square. A large crowd gathered around the tent and snapping fingers rang out into the night. The poems touched on motherhood and womanhood, amongst other things. Desforges featured a poem from her book, ‘Hello Nice Man’, provoking thought across the audience. ‘Enlightened Witness’, one of Desforges poems, asks the question: “If a man shouts in the forest and there’s no one to hear, who will help him process his emotions?” Poems such as ‘Enlightened Witness’ allowed for a night of tears,  a few of which were from laughter.

Epic Books (226 Locke Street S.) had a table set up with books from every writer at the event. If you missed out on the Author’s Tent event, you can pick one up there.

Overall, the Authors’ Tent was both welcoming and a welcome respite from the noise of Supercrawl. The focus on local writers and local stories made it feel like coming home. It is my personal hope that this event returns next year and every year after that, so it can continue to share insight with Hamiltonians.


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