UVic students and alumni held a book launch at the UVic bookstore on Nov. 7 for their modern love anthology called: Campus Confidential. The book shares personal essays about students’ interpretations on the topic of love in a modern world and was printed using the UVic Bookstore’s Espresso Book Machine.
Despite the black, drizzling sky, it was a very bright night for UVic’s Writing Department. Snacks and refreshments were given to those who attended. David Leach, director of both the Professional Writing minor and the Technology and Society minor, was the supervising editor for the anthology and the MC during the book launch. Leach said he was “blown away by the quality of the writing,” and seemed thrilled to have worked with editor Liz Snell on this project. Snell is a UVic alumna, and she also contributed an essay to the anthology. Snell said she was “honoured to have so many people share their stories with me”—people like JoAnn Dionne, Jon Salonga, Kelsey Coplin, Bryce Bladon, Frances Backhouse (all of whom gave readings), and several others.
There are 13 essays in the book, inspired by the New York Times column Modern Love. There was an 1 800 word count for the pieces, and although there was quite a lot of submissions, the editors feel they have chosen a diverse collection of perceptions on love. “I was a little worried I was going to receive a lot of ‘who I hooked up with this summer’ stories,” said Leach, “but what came in absolutely amazed me.” Both Snell and Leach hinted to the idea that we may see another anthology next year.
UVic’s Espresso Book Machine that printed the books is a clear-cased printer which resides in the basement of the bookstore with the textbooks. Reminiscent of something from Honey I Shrunk the Kids, or perhaps the breakfast machine from Flubber, the Espresso Book Machine has been affectionately named Eileen by the staff and can print varying sizes of books up to a little over 200 pages in length for an affordable price. Demonstrations were given before the readings took place, causing many of the aspiring authors that attended to consider self-publication.
The readings began with editor Liz Snell. She read from her essay on library speed-dating. Bryce Bladon then read the entirety of his essay entitled “Orange Crush.” It was an honest look at what love means in modern times. Following Bladon there were touching readings from both Frances Backhouse and Kelsey Coplin. Two readers, JoAnn Dionne and Jon Salonga, gave short readings from their essays, and left the audience with cliffhangers, ensuring that the crowd, if not already swayed, would purchase themselves a copy.
“It was fantastic for me to hear them read live,” said Leach. “I read them on page probably a dozen times each as we edited them in the class, but then to hear that human voice just elevated them that much more.” Leach said he thinks that they “should do more of these” anthologies, after the success of this print. So look forward to more of these in the coming years.
Campus Confidential is available at the UVic bookstore for $11.50.