On Friday October 3rd, we were excited to welcome Vivek Shraya, Elisha Lim and guest reader Malaika Aleba, as Librairie D & Q was the first stop on their tour! Graphic novelist and artist Elisha Lim added that they saw a lot of their heroes read at our store and it was another reason to be excited. The atmosphere was cheerful and cozy!
Elisha welcomed on stage their friend Malaika Aleba, who read a series of witty poems revolving around unemployment, immigration, queerness and the ocean. Giving voice to the visible minority, Malaika’s characters washed dishes in restaurants secretly infested with rats, and ate Campbell soup while trying to achieve the American Dream for $7.25 an hour. At the end of her refreshing reading, Malaika said she wished she had all the languages, but stories was the best she could do!
Vivek Shraya, the multimedia artist and author of the novel She of the Mountains, delivered an elegant performance barefoot. His reading of the contemporary queer love story was exciting and theatrical. Through gestures and songs, he successfully inhabited the text. Vivek Shraya ended his stylish and rhythmical reading by thanking Raymond Biesinger, the Montreal-based illustrator of his novel, who was present that night.
Elisha Lim, last but not least, screened their stop-motion movie that told the story of their first encounter with the gender neutral pronoun ‘they’, how they adopted it and quit the gender binary.
They then read from their debut graphic novel, 100 Crushes, and talked about reinventing oneself through style. They also told the audience cool stories, including one about a gift they once received from their dad, a shiny black tie that they described as being a sissy butch dream that moved them to tears!
Vivek Shraya talked about the challenges he’s facing when reading in front of a straight audience, as the content of his book is explicitly queer. He also talked about the beautiful visual components of his book and how Hindu mythology has a history of being told through images. Elisha stated their love for portraiture and insisted that the crafting of a story embellishes an image. To conclude, Malaika Aleba talked about poetry as a literary genre that was playful, fun and free. In poetry, she said, you can break all the rules!