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Vicious Circle goes mobile

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Stella’s Vicious Circle, also known as the Whistler Writers’ Group, is celebrating its first year of meeting in clandestine living rooms to critique its members’ work. "We’re not as harsh as our name sounds," says Stella Harvey, "but someone mentioned it one night and it stuck."

Apart from providing that vicious but constructive criticism, the group has been hosting monthly readings at various establishments in town. Listening to a human voice spin a tale in the casual atmosphere of a cafe or pub is a rare treat. One audience member described it as a primal experience, something seldom found in a world of high-tech entertainment. Since opening up the evenings to singers, poets and actors, the group has begun to attract a wide variety of people to the readings.

But not everyone is thrilled to have a writer weaving a story in their favourite watering hole. After three successful readings in a small village pub, a couple of regular patrons complained about the story telling and general merry-making. Norm and Cliff were unavailable for comment at press time. Having already relocated twice, the Vicious Circle had no qualms in moving the show to the Southside Deli, known in the evenings as the Rajun Cajun.

To celebrate their first successful year, the Vicious Circle is taking a road trip to the Pony Espresso in Pemberton. "We’re all hopping in Stephen’s Cool Bus, and heading north," says Rebecca Wood Barret, another member of the Circle. "Kind of an inter-town cultural event."

Like the readings in Whistler, the event at the Pony will be an open mic where everyone from singers to poets to actors will be welcome to take the stage. "I hope lots of creative souls from Pemberton and Mt. Currie come out of the woodwork to attend," Rebecca adds.

Pique Newsmagazine ran a six part series of short fiction featuring writers from the Vicious Circle this spring. Stella Harvey says the group is also bringing writer and broadcaster Andreas Schroeder to Whistler Aug. 16-18 for a weekend of workshops, lectures and readings. Schroeder is the author of over 20 books and the head of the Creative Writing Department at UBC. Writers wanting to take the full workshop should sign up in advance with Stella Harvey. Others might want to pay the $15 drop in fee for the lectures or come out to the reading on the Saturday night.

Other plans to expand the circle include inviting featured Vancouver writers up to the monthly readings at the Southside, and the latest breaking news of Douglas Coupland coming up for a special reading at Millennium Place.

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