About Writers Reading
It is always good to hear writers read from their own work, which is why book launches and public author readings are so appealing. Sometimes, of course, writers aren't the best presenters of their own work, for the same reason that playwrights aren’t qualified to be actors in their own plays. Nevertheless it is always worthwhile to hear writers’ own oral interpretations of what they wrote. This is true even if they mutter or stutter—or slur their words from partaking too much of that liquid courage an introvert sometimes needs to mount the stage. (I speak from very personal experience—as someone who has hosted some ‘interesting’ guest poetry readings here in North Bay.)
This week I heard three fine writers read from their works, and I’m pleased to report that they all had their presentation skills finely honed. Two fine, established writers, my old friend, the poet, James Deahl and his wife, Norma West Linder, both read at the Conspiracy Of Three on Tuesday night. That they both had taught to supplement their income was evident by their relaxed, polished delivery. The next morning James gave an excellent talk about another poet, Alden Nowlan at Nipissing University.
Then last night Wayne Grady read and discussed his novel Emancipation Day at Gulliver’s Bookstore. I know the book is great, and I know he is a good reader, but his presentation was exceptionally interesting, for after reading three sections of the novel, he discussed the backstory to the genesis of the book. And it is quite a story.