UntitledLiterature fans, rejoice! A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a book reading at the Rourke Art Museum. In the midst of a busy week, spending a few hours away from my homework sounded like as good an offer as any, and this outing opened my eyes to not only one, but two hidden gems located in Moorhead: the Rourke and New Rivers Press.

New Rivers Press is a small publishing company that runs on MSUM campus, and is directly associated with the university. It focuses on publishing both emerging and already-establish writers who produce contemporary work with a social conscience. The fact that it is associated with MSUM gives the press a direct contact with students who are eager to learn about the publishing business. Students are even the designers of each book cover.

The Rourke Art Museum was a great venue to hold the reading for New Rivers Press. The reading took place in the largest part of the gallery, which was just big enough to hold everyone who was listening. Above the main room of the gallery there was a small balcony that was just big enough for the three-piece band to play before and after the event. The room was great for listening, as the readers’ voices filled the entire space without the need for a microphone. In the front of the museum there was a cash bar and in another part of the gallery floor MSUM catering had set up a spread of delicious refreshments for before and after the reading.

The reading itself featured six authors who had books published by New Rivers Press. Each read excerpts of their book for about ten minutes, selecting passages that best represented their work as a whole. The books ranged from fiction, to poetry, to nonfiction. The event started about a half hour late, which meant the authors who read over their time limit and the speeches from the Press faculty made the reading run rather long—so beware if you hate to sit still for long periods of time. From what I gathered an event with this many authors from New Rivers Press happens only once in a blue moon, so the length of the event was probably a given.

Literature is often regarded as a solitary hobby—something a person engages in when they prefer to remain still and quiet. But this event brought reading to life and allowed the very author who had created their characters or written their lines of poetry to deliver it to an audience from their own point of view. It’s an exciting occasion when a writer and their writing are reunited again.

Attending the New Rivers Press event reminded me of how many rich opportunities the tri-college experience offers students. There are so many ways to explore your interests as a Fargo-Moorhead college student, even if the event you want to go to isn’t put on by your school.  I found out about this event in my fiction writing class when one of the writers included in the reading visited with our class and encouraged us to go. The English department will often advertise events like these, or your professors will mention it to their classes, so keep  your ears and eyes open for more events like these!

Ivy Estenson

Ivy is a Global Studies and English Writing double major (class of 2015) from Saint Peter, MN, who loves reading, coffee, travel, and dogs. Combine any two of those and she's in her happy place. Prior to writing for the reviews blog, Ivy has enjoyed volunteering for Campus Service Commission and serving as the Secretary/Treasurer for Fjelstad Hall Council.

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