On Awen, in the room behind the pub, poets share their latest creations. Leonardo Zimring conducts Poetry Libre along with Serene Bechir. Both welcome participants in a friendly and professional manner. It is a comfortable literary setting, where one feels confident presenting work and offering equal support to peers.
This is home to Kghia Gherardi and Simeon Beresford, who came into Second Life® from two different book groups. Bookmooch.com was Kghia’s hangout, and Simeon followed Librarything.com. When the website creators considered the benefits of a social setting for their members, Kghia and Simeon had an idea. They would create a virtual forum where a world-wide audience could gather.
“We came in with several other members who became really good friends,” she explained. “After that first meeting, we got together every weekend and explored SL, and came back and said, ‘This is what I learned.’ At that time, there weren’t many opportunities. The only poetry going on was Persephone Phoenix over at Blue Angel.”
When Second Life added voice, it motivated poets to come in-world, especially with the open mic events, according to Kghia. Before that, there was the technology of the reader. If you were going to conduct a voice event, you had to have a stream and work as the DJs do. She said it was challenging.
For book discussions, she volunteered at Caledon Library. In the meantime, Simeon wanted to create a space on the free mainland. Kghia, Simeon, and their friends weren’t using it for anything, so Simeon talked them into donating their land allotment.
“We started on the mainland with a small pub and then we did a weekly pop quiz based on books,” she told me. “We had a weekly poetry open mic and a regular book discussion, as well.We’ve been here probably five years now at Bookstacks. We came to Awen about four years ago. Awen is the Welsh word for poetic spirit.”
Because Simeon is in the U.K., most of the programs are conducted on the weekend, when both are present. Simeon leads the Science Fiction Saturday group, which discusses what people have been reading recently. Kghia said there’s a solid group of regulars that participate. There’s a Cozy Mystery Session once a month, hosted by Lludmila Mirrikh, one of their original friends, who is a librarian in real life. Then there’s Poetry Libra with Leo and Serene. People read their poetry in French, English, Spanish, which makes SL a closer community.
For other events, last year Kghia and Simeon asked the writers renting on Awen to present workshops. The outcome was impressive and informative. Emerain Rich, a well-known real life and SL Horror author, did a session on chapbooks. Kghia said Emerain pulled characters together. She took photos of people from the Internet and gave them personality quirks. They also had Cassandra Curtis, an erotica author, make a presentation. The attendance was wonderful, so they will sponsor the event again this year.
“With a pretty unique niche, our main focus is on readers rather that on writers (with the exception of the open mic). More inclined to have a book discussion, we support NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in conjunction with Virtual Writers.”
Writers rent homes or skyboxes on Awen. Tier depends on how many prims you want. Or, authors rent market carts. They do hope in the future, that the sim pays for itself.
Promotion was through the SL events feature and groups. But mainly Bookstack’s reputation in SL literary circles has attracted the audience. There’s also a regular social event on Friday nights. DJ Walton Vieria entertains with themes, which balances the seriousness with fun.
Kghia has a Master’s degree in Literature, and experience editing books and doing layout. She works in web design, so Bookstacks is her outlet to focus on what she most loves: reading.
Regular Events at Bookstacks:
• Science Fiction
Saturday at 2 p.m. every Saturday.
• The Little Pub of Horrors
9:30 a.m. every other Sunday.
• Poetry & Pints
11 a.m. first Sunday each month.
• Book Lovers’ Social
11 a.m. second Sunday each month.
• Book Discussion: Various Topics
11 a.m. third Sunday each month.
• Book of the Month Discussion
11 a.m. last Sunday each month.
• Off the Shelf Podcasts
1 p.m. second and fourth Sundays each month.
• Poetry Libre Open Mic
3 p.m. every Sunday.
• Cozy Mystery Discussion Monthly
• Live Music @ Celestial Jazz
Every other week – Date/Time TBA
To see the full issue as it is originally published with more photographs and graphics, please download Unforgettable #1. For more information, please contact Netera Landar, Editor-in-Chief, neteralandar.gmail.com