Langara College gives Vancouver writers the chance to connect and share their work

Strangers on a Train is a Langara led literary event where aspiring writers can read aloud their work to other writers


Story by Patrick Penner

A literary event, founded by Langara teachers, is providing a forum for the college’s aspiring authors to read their work in front of fellow writers.

Strangers on a Train was organized five years ago by English literature teachers at Langara with the goal of connecting strangers with a common love of creative prose.

Students enjoy the literary limelight

Last Tuesday, the spotlight focused on Brazilian poet and Langara student, Cedric Alexander.

“It’s really helpful for not only me but the public, they might find words for something they felt but never knew how to express,” Alexander said. “It’s sort of like a dialogue.”

Thor Polukoshko, one of the event’s co-founders, felt an obligation to support student’s literary endeavors in the same way he was mentored.

“It’s really difficult to take that first step,” said Polukoshko. “When I was doing my undergrad and I was starting a project, having that support from instructors was absolutely invaluable.”

All can board the writing sharing train

The event showcases a variety of writers from all walks of life and stages in their careers, from Governor General Award winners to Poet Laureates of Canada – always closing the night with a reading from a featured Langara student.

Alexander said that his professor’s encouragement to participate in such events have helped him battle depression progress as a writer.

“Things start to construct themselves, [into] something really positive,” said Alexander.  “This gives me tranquility and peace of mind.”

Good to have some company while you write

Alix Ohlin, a novelist and short story writer who also read at the event, believes these environments are essential for teaching young artists not to isolate themselves.

“Writing can be very lonely work, and it’s really great when writers have an opportunity to come together and feel a sense of community,” Ohlin said.

The event hosts between six and eight readings a year at the Kino Café on Cambie Street.

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