Poetry, spoken word performances, plays and short stories; all these literary exploits and more can be heard at Brave New Words, a showcase of local literary talent. Lit-lovers can enjoy an evening of music poetry and cocktails at the event, which runs the first Tuesday of each month from September through May. The brave may even get up to read their own work, as the event is open mic-based.
“Brave New Words is an important event because it allows individual writers to communicate with each other and creates support for (them),” says Susanne Hingley, who runs Brave New Words.
Brave New Words was founded by Lauren Tuck in 2008.
“The story is basically that I was running Brave New Works, an art collective dedicated to giving established and emerging artists opportunities to showcase new work,” Tuck says. “Somehow I thought that it would be cool to do a poetry slam night. I asked around and no one was doing it… Brave New Words has assisted in supporting a very vibrant literary community and I have been honoured to see each and every artist grow in their writing and in the presentation of their work.”
Hingley took over the event from Tuck in 2013.
“It was a big torch to pass on… but what Lauren was really passing on was the passion,” says Hingley.
Many local writers and poets have attended the event over the years, What’s Up Yukon writer Elke Reinauer among them.
“I find Brave New Words inspiring and I like listening to all the stories and poems at the open mic night because they often inspire me,” Reinauer says. “I don’t like reading in front of an audience, but Susanne is always so encouraging and I feel brave after doing so. One of my resolutions… was to get myself and my writing out there, and Brave New Words was a good stage for me.”
Brave New Words is entirely volunteer based. Paul Davis has been volunteering his time to help at the door for the event since it first started.
“In the beginning they needed a ‘door monster’ to shake down people for donations,” he jokes. “I volunteer for it because I think it’s important for people to have an artistic outlet for their writing… it brings people into a space to express themselves – I’m always amazed at the various voices that come out of that.”
Hingley says the hardest part about being the volunteer organizer for the event is finding a secure space for it. In the beginning the event ran at Baked Cafe, and then moved to Rah Rah Gallery. When Rah Rah closed, however, Brave New Words was left looking for a new space and after some bouncing around settled on the Woodcutters Blanket on Second Ave.
Hingley says the event has had sponsors in the past, but currently does not have one and could certainly use one.
“Mostly we just make enough money at the door (through donations) to pay the musician,” she says, adding that Woodcutters Blanket generously donates the space.
Hingley became involved in the event through her own desire to write and be part of the literary community. She also organizes a complimentary event, Brave New Writing, where writers can get together and work on writing and creativity exercises together. Brave New Writing takes place the third Tuesday of every month.
“Writing is such a solitary discipline,” she notes. “Brave New Words takes us out of the dark rooms of writing by ourselves.”
The next Brave New Writing workshop takes place on Tuesday, Dec 15th. The next Brave New Words will be held Jan. 5th at the Woodcutters Blanket. Both events begin at 7 p.m. For more information, you can contact Hingley at [email protected]