5 May 2015

Megaphone celebrates vendor writing with Voices of the Street

Canadian street newspaper Megaphone has launched the fifth annual edition of Voices of the Street, a special literary anthology of vendor writing.

From Friday, May 1, Megaphone vendors working in Vancouver and Victoria have been selling the special edition for $5 (they buy it for $2.50, and keep the profit).

Since its first issue rolled off the presses in 2008, Megaphone has been dedicated to amplifying marginalised voices and supporting homeless and low-income people.

For the past six years, its vendors have been able to participate in weekly creative writing workshops and their work is regularly published in the magazine. 

"Between then and now, Megaphone has worked with an enormously talented, evolving team of writing workshop facilitators, many of whom are published authors, poets, journalists, and academics," said Megaphone editor Jackie Wong.

"Each week, they've been working with participants to tap into the therapeutic, empowering potential of writing. In the workshops, the writers craft poems and short stories that knock our socks off.

"Voices of the Street is a powerful collection of writing that means so much to so many people."

Many people involved in the workshops describe the process as empowering and even healing.

Loralee Ave Maria Judge is one of 32 published authors in Voices of the Street and was also the cover star of Megaphone's April edition (pictured below), which celebrated the impact of the project.

"Writing, for me, is kind of like drawing the poison out," she said. "It's like getting rid of a poison that no other form of expression - healthy or unhealthy - can do."

Poet and longtime Megaphone contributor Jim Ryder agrees:

"I was in really rough physical shape and mental shape after coming out of a coma. If I didn't get involved with Megaphone and started getting my work out there, I don't know where I would be."

Jim is from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, an area of the city that has gained notoriety for high rates of crime and poverty in recent years. It has become a major theme in his writing.

"I want to write so that someone who is unfamiliar with the Downtown Eastside will listen and understand what it is like," he added.

"A lot of people in the community have never had anyone listen to their opinion. When someone gives you the opportunity to share your story down here, it's totally validating."

Read more about Megaphone and find your nearest vendor here.