Youth Literacy's Greatest Hits: The Launch Party
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Youth Literacy’s Greatest Hits: The Launch Party

If you’re into the idea of kids with bigger, shinier brains and programs that facilitate such things, you might be familiar with Now Hear This!, Toronto’s very own not-for-profit literary outreach organization. With a mandate of education through the arts, they do good things like hold Satire and Fake News Writing workshops for kids, complete with handouts from The Onion. Kind of idealistically akin to Dave Eggers‘ ass-kickingly progressive nonprofit, 826 National.
Anyhow, these fine folks are having a launch party for their new in-house publication, The Armadillo, an anthology of student-written stories, poems, personal essays, reviews and screenplays that document the success of Toronto’s first-ever ongoing writers-in-schools program, S.W.A.T (Students, Writers And Teachers).
In a nutshell, S.W.A.T. deploys established authors to local schools to direct creative writing workshops. In its inaugural year (read: 2007), it saw about 700 students, ten authors and ten teachers take part in three straight months of workshops. And the cream of the program’s creative output was jammed into a tidy little book named after your favourite animal with the bony armour shell. The idea being to allow students to have their stuff published alongside peers and mentors, effectively fostering some sort of appreciation for the ins and outs of the publishing process. Neat.
Now Hear This! aligns itself with other Toronto organizations like Parkdale Project Read, Frontier College, East End Literacy and Central Toronto Youth Services to work on literacy projects around the city. So lend some support for generation next and generally well-intentioned radness by watching students and S.W.A.T. writers-in-residence read and perform their work at the launch. The magic happens Monday from 7–9 p.m. at the Gardiner Museum (Terrace Room, 3rd Floor). Free! Though if you wanted you could donate. That’d be pretty alright of you.
The Armadillo will be on magazine stands and in bookstores across the country next month. It’s also available online here.
Photo courtesy of Now Hear This!.