by Emily Stewart
On Wednesday, September 19th we gathered at Christchurch Cathedral for our first speaker night of the season. Our theme: literary potluck. Our speaker: writer, publisher, and blogger rob mclennan.
We kicked off the evening with literary themed food and drink. We had salad (Julius Caesar), devilled eggs (Green Eggs and Ham), pie (Life of Pie), Marilla Cuthbert’s red currant wine (Anne of Green Gables) and more.
After networking time, the executive took the floor for introductions and to announce plans for the year. We’ve got lots of fun stuff coming up, so be sure to check out our programming page if you missed out on the announcements.
Finally, we had our featured speaker, rob mclennan, take the stage. rob is a powerhouse in the Ottawa literary community. He does a lot around town to promote literature and bring words into the world. He:
- publishes chapbooks through above/ground press, now in its 25th year of operation
- organizes of the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair, founded in1994
- curates of The Factory Reading Series
- runs Touch the Donkey, Ottawater, and a daily blog
And all this with two young kids at home!
With so much experience under his belt, rob had a lot of anecdotes and wisdom to offer. He told us about how he started writing and publishing and how these efforts led to more creative projects. The discussion also covered the challenges and frustrations of working in literature in Ottawa and some Ottawa history.
He mentioned literary events that members might be interested in. According to rob, the best way to stay in the know about these events is through Bywords.ca’s events calendar. Check it out or follow Bywords on Facebook or Twitter.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this discussion was “action generates action.” Creating and sharing leads to more opportunities. rob is definitely an example of this and I think this mentality is valuable to keep in mind as we continue building the editing community, our networks, and businesses.
My goal for the evening was to have our members reconnect with one another while learning about the larger literary community in Ottawa. Though we were a small group this month, we had a fun, informal night.
I hope everyone enjoyed it and if anyone has any feedback or ideas for future speaker nights, feel free to let me know.
See you next month!
Emily Stewart, Speakers Night Chair