Local Literary Community Grows

 

Catch Live from the Back Room at Vino’s once a month to hear excerpts from local writers and their latest projects.

 

Dylan Jackson considers himself a bit of a writer. Discovering an interest in playwriting, he lived in New York for a spell before coming back to Little Rock to finish college at UALR. Upon his arrival home in 2011, he noticed the literary community was lacking. Having worked briefly at Vino’s as the booking agent, he saw an opportunity and created the now popular Live from the Back Room series.

He didn’t necessarily know he would end up creating a shared series in the beginning. “I really just needed an outlet, a stimulus to keep writing,” he said, and now he and others have one.

At 7 p.m. one Sunday per month, the Vino’s stage becomes home to a crowd anxious to read everything from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to prose. “It’s not exactly a slam performance, a competition or a workshop” he explained, but rather “an open, supportive environment to share your latest project.”

Since the program’s inception, Jackson has recruited other organizers, Kara Bibb and Justin Booth, to help keep the show fresh. Sometimes there are themes, sometimes there aren’t, but one rule remains the same — everyone is always welcome.

The series now has a momentum of its own, and even when the back room seems empty, Jackson has met someone new. Getting people to open up and read in front of a group of strangers is a task in itself, but there is a feeling of community, an “everyone’s been on deck” mentality that breaks that barrier.

“It’s really for those creatives that are under the radar,” he said. “I’ve met some really amazing people and I’ve just been blown away by the response … and it’s great that Vino’s is open to working with us on this.”

Jackson started out constantly asking this question: “What can this city do to make a larger cultural presence?” His answer is to slowly chip away at it himself, with the budding literary community, live from the back room of Vino’s. Check the Live From the Back Room’s Facebook group for more details.

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