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VIU’s Portal magazine is presenting writer Julie Chadwick for this month’s edition of their Portfolio Reading Series.

The event will take place this Thursday, March 12 at 6:30 pm, and is hosted by White Rabbit Coffee Co., located at 321 Selby St. in downtown Nanaimo.

Chadwick is an award-winning journalist, editor, and author of The Man Who Carried Cash. A great gift for all music lovers, her book is described as being “a fascinating account of the relationship between Johnny Cash and his manager.” The event will also feature opening readings from Portal and VIU students Margot Fedoruk, Patrick Wilson, and Jenny Helgren. And while you’re there, grab a latte.

The Portfolio Reading Series was fostered last year by the 2018/2019 Portal class. An initiative by former Portal student Caileigh Broatch, it was intended to fill a gap in Nanaimo’s much-lacking literacy scene.

The series is held throughout the academic year from September to March, and typically occurs every month. Each event focuses on a specific genre: one for poetry, one for fiction, one for scripts, and so forth. This month, the series is celebrating nonfiction.

“This is the second year Portfolio is being run by the Portal class,” said Jade Vandergrift, co-managing editor for Portal 2020.  “There’s a new class each September, and then more students in January who run the reading series; so it’s not always easy to get into a routine.”

In September, Portal decided to undergo some much-needed changes to the series structure. “This year we changed our venue to White Rabbit Coffee Co., which has made it a much more accessible event to the community,” Vandergrift said. “We’ve definitely gained some traction from last year—that’s the way it goes, though.” Prior to White Rabbit, the series was held at the White Room on Church Street; a lovely venue, but located up a tall flight of stairs.

As the Portal class is primarily made up of creative writing and English students, the series not only gave them and their peers the opportunity to pick the minds of established writers, but was also a great excuse to get out of their writing bubble and showcase their own work, too. “Portfolio has been a great way to get students comfortable reading in front of people,” Vandergrift said. “They’re getting to know the name [of the series], [and] they know it’s not a huge crowd—15-25 people—and so it’s usually an easy yes.”

Vandergrift has personally had a great time with the series, being an avid attendee since it all began. “It’s been so inspiring to meet authors Amanda Hale, Ken Hegen, Arianna Dagnino, and Bill Gaston, just to name a few,” she said.

Portfolio is always free and open to the public. For more information and to keep up-to-date on future events, make sure to follow VIU Portal Magazine across social media and at their website, or contact viuportal@gmail.com.

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