Chris L. Terry/Photography courtesy of lithub.com

By Mathew Tomlinson

Cape Cod Community College recently announced the launch of the “Bigger Boat Visiting Writers Series”, a recurring online event that will feature published writers and student writers reading their works each month. The event series, Co-Sponsored by the Creative Writing Club and the Language and Literature Department’s Writing Program, is being organized by Dean Cathleen McCarron, Bruce Riley, Professor Fournier, Professor Griffin, and Professor Schaefer.

“The faculty have recognized that there’s a lot of writing talent among the students at Cape Cod” said Dean McCarron on the inspiration behind the series. “The Cape is a hub for artists. There is a very vibrant arts community, we could be a contributor to that.”

“Right when Cathy came in, she suggested we have this writing series,” said Professor Fournier. “For me and Professor Griffin, a big part of the inspiration was when we went to U Maine, there was a new writing series, where once a month, writers would come to Orono Maine. Professors up there brought all these fantastic writers and poets”

The first reading will occur on Wednesday, October 21st from 6:30-7:30 on Zoom, with following events taking place on the first Wednesday of the following months. On the event format, Dean McCarron elaborated “The visiting writer’s series is a three-part invitation, the writer comes to Professor Griffins creative writing class, the writer will do writing exercises with the class and then talk about what it means to be a writer. Then the writer will visit the Creative writing Club and do the same thing there, and in the evening will be the public reading. The opening act will be the student readers, and then the author afterwards. Each month will follow that format of student readers, one or two short readings, and then the featured reader.”

The first featured writer will be Chris L. Terry, a Los Angeles based author, who will be reading from his novel Black Card, an NPR Book of the Year. Professor Fournier said “Chris style is really conversational and accessible, and that’s going to draw readers in. We’re super psyched to have Chris, it’s a great way to get us started”.

The series will not focus solely on novelists. The second featured speaker will be D. Eric Parkison, a Massachusetts based poet reading excerpts from No Arcadia, a collection of his poetry. “Each semester me, Professor Griffin and Professor Schaefer will each pull in one person. In addition to different people it will be different genres. We’re trying to mix up the style of genre and readers.” said Professor Fournier.

Students writer’s will also be featured in the live series. The faculty hope this medium can empower students pursuing careers as writers. “Student engagement has never been more important than now. One of the things I’m most excited about is for students to have that exposure with published writers, so they can see that they too can do this. It provides a unique experience that many elite institutions have.” Said Dean McCarron. Professor Fournier stated “Giving student writers access to working writers should help demystify the writing process. It should help student writers realize there’s not much difference between themselves and published writers. Published writers have just put in more time so far.”

The Faculty see room to expand the department. “I think there is interest in growing the writing program.” Said McCarron. “You have 20 students in your classes right now, there is a growing interest. The more students that get in, then you can have a creative writing 2, or poetry, there’s room to grow the program.”  Professor Fournier stated. “As we bring in more and more innovative speakers, we could make Cape Cod Community College a go-to destination for writing and for reading.”

The event will be available for all students as well as the public, through Zoom.  “For now, the zoom platform makes that easy” said Dean McCarron. “The plan is that once the COVID situation is over, we would bring it back on campus, and students could come and get their book signed, and the community could come, but then we would also still make it available on zoom, so that if you couldn’t come you could still follow it.”

“There’s already been a lot of excitement over it. We want as many community members as possible.”

Those looking to attend the event may register at https://capecod.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYtf-CqrzgqG9ZNM7Z0AxWQJWPyuBJS3TVu