The Vertigo Voices Reading Series kicks off on Friday with a reading and discussion with author John Vigna.
A former professional basketball player and coach, Vigna is also an award-winning non-fiction and freelance magazine writer.
Vigna’s first book of fiction, Bull Head, has been getting critical praise across Canada. The collection of stories, many of which centre on working class men in semi-rural B.C. communities, explore the changing economic and social realities in those communities.
Vigna explains that employment in the places about which he writes have traditionally been tied to the landscape.
“(It’s) a life that is uncompromisingly difficult and demanding. As newcomers discovered the area, they began to replace the traditional means of earning a living (mining, forestry, etc.) with jobs in tourism, at the ski hill, at the resorts, or construction… The characters in this book often grapple with this changing of the guard,” he said.
As well as grappling with how one makes a living, several characters in this book also grapple with how to be a man, or notions of masculinity.
“The role of men has undergone a tremendous shift over the last few decades,” said Vigna. “I think men are struggling with what it means to be a man. There are new criteria, changing daily, and men are slow to keep up. We seem to be confused, perpetually, at what our role is now, how to cope with it, and how to feel a sense of importance or relevance nowadays.”
Vigna will be at Vertigo Voices with his wife, Nancy Lee, author of award-winning collection, Dead Girls. The two will give short readings and the focus of the evening will be providing readers and writers the chance to ask questions and be part of a discussion about the writing process.
“John’s coming off doing the big Western literary festivals – Vancouver International Writers’ Festival and Calgary’s WordFest, where he opened for Martin Amis,” said Laisha Rosnau, one the reading series organizers. “He’s looking forward to the more informal setting at Vertigo Voices and the chance to talk to other writers and readers.”
Along with Friday’s event, the Vertigo Voices Reading Series continues all month with readings and discussions on Nov. 15, 22 and 29. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Readings begin at 8 p.m. at Gallery Vertigo, #1-3001 31st St. upstairs. All are welcome, by donation. For more info., call (250) 503-2297.