Human Library returns with real stories of diversity, tragedy, polygamy, and more

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      A favourite for many who attend Vanouver's annual PuSh Performing Arts Festival, it's an event that bridges the gap between author and reader.

      More of a theatrical movement than a performance, Zee Zee Theatre's Human Library—returning to PuSh for its fifth year—allows visitors to VPL's Central Branch an opportunity to 'borrow' a human book for 20 minutes. 

      Within that time, human books share "intimate details and experiences of their life," according to Maggie Rayner.

      “Within that interaction, the labels and stereotypes that keep us separate are dissolved,” she says.

      “When you’re finished, you’re not strangers anymore.”

      Rayner, a published author, will present her story, In Polygamy's Shadow, as part of this year's lineup of Human Library books.

      This is her second year as a title in the series. Last year, the event coincided with the release of her published memoir with the same title.

      "In Polygamy’s Shadow is about my experiences growing up in a mainstream Mormon family. My parents were not polygamous, but my ancestors were,” Rayner says in a video preview for the Straight (below).

      She goes on to explain that her mother lived in constant fear that her father might decide to go back to the original doctrine of the Mormon church, which advocates polygamy.

      Other titles at this year’s Human Library include Don’t Call me Yellow, My Teenage Death Wish, Polyamorous at 69, and Tragedy + Time Served = Comedy.

      You can check out Rayner and other titles at Vancouver Public Library’s Central branch on January 21, 22, 28, and 29, as well as February 4 and 5, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

      Hear part of Maggie's story, In Polygamy's Shadow.
      Amanda Siebert