Yukon writers are pairing up to give a series of weekly readings at the Whitehorse Public Library starting Feb. 5.

The readings begin with Al Pope and Miche Genest, on Feb. 5, followed by Patti Flather and Clea Roberts on Feb. 12.

Other joint readings are by Claire Eamer and Jerome Stueart, Celia McBride and Mitch Miyagawa, and Marcelle Dubé and Michael Reynolds.

“We thought it was time to hear from Yukon writers and showcase them,” said the readings’ organizer and public-programmes librarian Mairi Macrae.

“We thought it would be nice to have a mix of genres,” she added. “We have tried to put people together that would be interesting combinations and add variety to the evening.”

Three solo readings will also take place by Patricia Robertson, Erling Friis-Baastad and Berton House writer-in-residence Jalal Barzanji, the only non-Yukon writer participating in the series.

“I think it’s great that Mairi is getting this series happening,” said Al Pope, well-known to Yukoners as the author of the novel Bad Latitudes.

“I was in Longest Night 2007, and I loved reading to such a big house, but it’s ages since I’ve done a smaller, more intimate reading.

“A lot of writers regard readings as a painful necessity but I love them, being a bit of a ham.

“I’m also really glad to be sharing the evening in Whitehorse with my old friend and former writers’ circle compadre, Miche Genest.”

Likewise familiar to Yukoners, Genest is the author of three plays produced by Nakai Theatre and co-editor of Yukon anthologies Urban Coyote and Urban Coyote, New Territory.

Genest says she is currently working on a series of stories about Greece.

Taking part in the second reading in the series is poet Clea Roberts.

“I’ll be reading mostly from work I wrote at the Atlantic Centre for the Arts, last October, which includes a series of poems called Transmutations.

“Transmutations is about how winter alters us.

“I’ll also be reading a few poems from Here is Where We Disembark which is a series of poems dealing with women’s relationships to the natural world during the Klondike Gold Rush.”

Roberts will be reading alongside playwright and short-fiction writer Patti Flather, whose plays include Where the River Meets the Sea and West Edmonton Mall.

Flather is currently writing a new play inspired by the lives of Claude and Mary Tidd and adapting her Christmas comedy play, The Soul Menders, for the screen.

Macrae described the reading series as a sampling of just some of the Yukon’s writers. “We do acknowledge there are many interesting, talented writers out there,” she said. “It’s hard to include them all.”

If the series is a success, however, Macrae hopes to be able to organize more such events.

“There are so many writers we’d like to include who maybe haven’t published as such or don’t have such a profile, so maybe in the future we may hear from those people.”

For more information about the readings, phone the library at 667-3668 or visit www.ypl.gov.yk.ca.