Writers Wanted! – Interview in BORO Magazine, Vol. 3:11 October 2013
As the first in the 3rd Space Series by the Queens Council on the Arts, local writer Audrey Dimola will be hosting a Literary Town Hall in the beginning of the month. We conducted a little Q&A to find out how to get involved, and just what participants can look forward to on October 18th.
What is the date, time, location of the Literary Town Hall?
Friday, October 18th from 6:30-8:30pm at the new Queens Council on the Arts space in Astoria at 37-11 35th Ave (entrance on 37th St).
What inspired you to create the Town Hall?
In 2012 and 2013 especially, there has been so much growth in our literary community – local reading series thriving, relaunching, and emerging; the publication of our first formal literary journal (Newtown Literary); of course the two new bookstores opening in Astoria, and so on. As a native Queens poet, journalist, and curator I feel so lucky to be a part of this community and all the amazing people it has brought me in contact with. I basically wanted the Town Hall to bring all the pieces together – celebrate, spread the word, make the opportunities known, and connect everyone involved so that our community can keep expanding and evolving.
What can participants expect?
Part performance, part soapbox, and part networking! The Queens literary organizations involved (including reps from Boundless Tales, First Tuesdays, Oh Bernice!, Astoria Bookshop, Enigma Bookstore, Newtown Literary, and more) will either present original work and/or speak about what they do and how people can get involved. Attendees will be able to meet the reps from these organizations, connect with fellow writers and lit lovers, and discuss the literary community in Queens – what we hope to see in the near future, what we’re excited about, how we can collaborate on new projects.
How did the collaboration come about with the Queens Council on the Arts?
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing quite a few wonderful QCA folks over my years of working in local media and participating in Queens culture. I came by to see the new space and bounce some ideas around with Lynn Lobell and Zoe Rabinowitz, who are always so helpful – and the Town Hall idea came about on the spot! It was later decided to be the first event in their new 3rd Space series.
Who can participate, and how?
Anyone can RSVP to attend the Literary Town Hall! But you can also look into hosting or being a part of a future 3rd Space event. Now that QCA has a great space in an easily accessible Queens location, they’re offering artist-led performance and exhibition opportunities on the third Friday of the month. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with 3rd Space as the subject for more info!
Do you anticipate this being the first Town Hall of more to come?
I’d love to do something like this every so often in an effort to keep our literary community connected. Our borough is so widespread and often we artists are working on projects and fostering little pockets of culture – completely unbeknownst to each other. Being a writer can also be a somewhat solitary endeavor at times, so I feel it’s really important for us to reach out to each other and share our creative journeys.
What are some of your favorite local literary organizations?
Boundless Tales in Astoria will always be close to my heart – it was the first ongoing reading series I read for in Queens, and I’ve been deeply involved ever since. Attending First Tuesdays in Jackson Heights is also always a really incredible experience – their open mic is authentic Queens! You get people from every age and background coming to share their own words or some of their favorites, ranging from truly moving to downright hilarious.
How would you describe the community of writers in Western Queens?
Real! They’re friendly, they’re gritty, they’re brave, they’re beautiful. They are so fantastically diverse in every way and I’m constantly floored by the people I meet and the performers I see, which is why I feel so strongly about doing all I can to help keep the community alive and kickin’ in a positive way. We’re all out there – we just have to connect!
On a personal level, what about the neighborhood inspires your writing?
Queens is in my blood – I was born and raised in Astoria/LIC and everywhere I look is a precious memory or a new adventure waiting to unfold. I also just love that Queens has the ever-inspiring mix of urban settings and natural spaces – individual worlds to explore in each neighborhood.
Do you have any favorite local ‘spots’ to write?
I’m constantly scribbling something, somewhere – in pen in notebooks, sharpie on walls, chalk on sidewalk, and even poem stickers stuck around the city. But if I had to pick – sitting on rocks on the shore of the East River in Socrates Sculpture Park, looking out onto moving water, buildings, and sky.