'The Back-Room Bunch'
Scores of students often show up
for the Tuesday-night reading series, in which Writing
Seminars majors can test out their latest work. Last week's
group included Cameron Granger, Patrice Hutton, Jessica
Begans and Will
Photo by Jay VanRensselaer / HIPS
Writing Sems undergrads find a home for informal readings:
By Greg Rienzi
The back room of the Hopkins Deli, a popular student
spot near the Homewood campus, contains
a few shopping carts, a large cooler with melting ice,
cases of beer, remnants of some water damage
and an incongruous chandelier. It's not exactly the lobby
of the Ritz-Carlton, but every Tuesday night
the cramped space brims with students, some of whom might
just be the next John Updike, Wes
Anderson or Joyce Carol Oates.
Last year, a small group of Writing
Seminars undergraduates began a weekly reading series
share their latest stories. The series, run by the Writing
Seminars Student Committee (formerly the
Writing Seminars Gorilla Faction), started in a room in
Gilman Hall, but the students soon realized
they wanted a more informal, off-campus location to meet
in. Well, you can't get more informal than
the series' current location, but it suits these students
In fact, on some nights the back room will contain up
to 60 people who stay after a short
committee meeting to listen to each other's short stories,
poems or excerpts of novels and
On a typical night, two or three students will read
works of varying lengths, followed by an open
Patrice Hutton, who co-chairs the committee with Tom
Koenigs, said that the original intention
was to help foster a sense of community among Writing
Seminars majors and to encourage each other
outside the familiar workshop setting.
"It's a chance to hear your peers' work performed and
get to know what sort of stories people
are working on," Hutton said.
For the writer, Hutton said the experience offers a
good opportunity to gauge the response of
an audience in a fun, nonstressful environment.
The current series kicked off on Oct. 2 and will
continue on Tuesday nights until the end of the
academic term. The readings begin at 8 p.m.
Hutton said that the back-room bunch welcomes those
from all majors, adding that the series
has attracted several very loyal supporters. "Even some
science majors," she quipped.
The Hopkins Deli is located at 110 W. 39th St. Ask the
guys behind the deli counter for the
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