Q&A with the Impressment Gang

Halifax's newest literary journal launches Saturday, May 10

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The Gang's all here
  • The Gang's all here

The Impressment Gang new not-for-profit literary magazine published quarterly. Run by Pearl Chan, Cassie Guinan and Clay Everest, the debut issue features work from Heather Jessup, Geordie Miller, Jaime Forsythe, Josh Salter, Maya Stewart Pathak, Andrew Patterson, Charlotte Bondy, Ryan Allen, Sheryda Warrener, David Huebert and Carole Glasser Langille. The issue launches Saturday, May 10 at The Nook on Gottingen Street, 8:30pm, free. Feel like contributing to the project? Click here.

Q: What prompted the project and what do you hope to accomplish?

A: The project started with ourselves, our own pens and poems spread out on a bar table, and then got existential. We started thinking: who, where, what is our literary community, are we a part of it, and why do we want it? Our plan is to create a new voice in the Canadian literary community, encourage dialogue and criticism of new works, and build a stronger base for it out of Halifax. There are so many great writers here, yet sometimes the community seems disbanded. This is an attempt to connect some of that.

Q: Can you tell me about the Impressment Gang team?

A: Pearl, Clay, and I took a fiction writing workshop at Dalhousie with Heather Jessup back in 2011. Heather had told us that some of the people surrounding us would be our closest friends for the rest of our lives. This is probably true. You devote so much time to each other’s work, and really develop a deep understanding of each other. Since that workshop, we have banded together in continuous support. The three of us are all very different from each other, but we share a common thread of honesty and respect, and a love for great writing.

Q: I'm glad the fundraising is going well, why did you choose to go the crowdfunding route?

A: I doubt anyone loves asking for money, and it’s hard to find grants for a new publication. We set ourselves a tight timeline, and crowdfunding seemed to fit our project well. For one thing, it’s fast. We also have a physical product, so you are "getting something" in return. We really don’t want to push the sales aspect, as we are a not for profit society and our focus is on the community project. But the reality is, we need funds to operate, and people treat free stuff differently. Once we have a year under our belt, we will be eligible for publishing grants. And once we have a subscription base, we should be self-sustaining.

Q: What made you select the authors that you did for inclusion in the magazine?

A: We reached out to writers that we trusted and admired, and then some of those aforementioned people got us in touch with those that they align themselves with as well. These writers are our friends, and mentors. It’s hard because the second something goes to print, or I guess even before that, it does become exclusive. Already there have been some ooh-but-we-should-have-asked-this-person moments. But no matter who we forgot to ask, there are many more issues of The Impressment Gang to be printed, and we are opening up submissions to the public as soon as we get a PO box. We want to be inclusive, but we also want to be impressive. So there is a balance game here. We want to be more than just a physical magazine, we want to be active members in the literary community all around. This means open-mic readings, writing workshops, and other community events and collaborations. We’re excited to be here.

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