This year, the Word on the Street festival returns with a new moniker—Word Vancouver—and a hugely varied schedule that runs at venues around town from September 25 to 29. As part of the runup, we asked some of the writers on the bill to tell us about the reading experiences that shaped them. Which book left deep impressions early on? Which one overhauled the way they see and think about the world, and set them on a path to a literary life?
Here’s what Evelyn Lau told us. Lau is, of course, Vancouver’s poet laureate. She’ll be reading from her latest collection, A Grain of Rice, at 4 p.m. on September 29, in the fest’s Poetry Tent outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
There was no one book or author that sent me down this path of being a writer—in those preteen years I was a greedy and indiscriminate reader, consuming anything that found its way to me between two covers. L.M. Montgomery, ee cummings, Ray Bradbury, Anaïs Nin were first loves, but so were Harlequin romances, gobbled by the boxful.
The important thing was the deliciousness of words, which gave me such sensory pleasure I frequently read long passages aloud to better savour their texture and mouth-feel. Adjectives were the best, so pretty and descriptive—my early efforts were absolutely larded with them!