Recap: Geographic Psychologies, Or What Happens to Your Writing When You Change Towns

Hosting that night, Gail Scott talked a little about her aims for the event, which was named Geographic Psychologies, Or What Happens to Your Writing When You Change Towns. She explained that according to her, every city has its own sound, its cadence. Therefore, she was interested in knowing if the city impacted on the writing, particularly when a writer changes town.

She introduced Montreal writer Jacob Wren (initially from Toronto). As Scott mentioned with humor, Jacob Wren still does not speak French, no matter how hard he tries. Wren quickly responded “Is this what I’m known for?” which made the audience laugh.

Wren, a talented writer, is also a performance artist. Scott praised Wren’s last performance, where he rewrote The Book of Disquiet from Pessoa. The performance lasted 8 days! 

Wren read a chapter from his most recent book, Polyamorous Love Songs. He briefly described his book as being about artists and ethics, or in other words, what is ethical to do as an artist. The chapter he read followed filmmaker A and Sylvia, the only character with a name, as the two fell in and out of love.

Shortly after, Gail Scott introduced the Toronto-based writer Zoe Whittall, formerly from Montreal. Whittall, pleased to read at Drawn and Quarterly, admitted that she used to live one block away from the store when she was a student at Concordia! It was also around that time that she read Heroine by Gail Scott. At that specific moment, she felt that she could write a novel too!

Whittall read from her most recent book, Holding Still For As Long As Possible.

She introduced us to various characters like Amy, who repeated mundane stuff like « yellow yellow yellow » in order to achieve orgasm.       

The readings were followed by a Q & A session and both writers compared Toronto and Montreal. Wren said he didn’t really like Toronto. In fact, as he pointed out, he tried for a long time to "evacuate" the Toronto from his writing.

The event finished as Gail Scott thanked Drawn and Quarterly and advertised the next reading, taking place at l’Université de Montréal!

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