Community Classroom

Portal’s Portfolio Live Reading Series Shifts to YouTube

Cover images from past Portal magazines
Author: Joe Enns, VIU Creative Writing and Journalism student

Video interviews allow for in-depth conversations with authors

Portal’s monthly Portfolio live evening reading series pivoted to YouTube during the 2020-21 school year. The event was previously held at the White Rabbit Coffee Co. and The White Room in partnership with Windowseat Books. Pandemic restrictions prevented these social gatherings, and one-on-one Zoom interviews replaced the social camaraderie of café culture.

Though the group atmosphere was lost, the new format allowed for more in-depth conversations about the authors’ works, which appeared in the glossy 30th anniversary issue of Portal that hit newsstands last May. 

The fall Portfolio interviews were hosted by Kesu Beaton and Gabriel Villasmil and featured contributors to the 2020 issue, including Aaron Koch, Robert Bowerman, Jade Vandergrift and Margot Fedoruk. 

I joined the Portfolio team in January as host and interviewed eight students whose work was selected for the 2021 issue: Rose McQuirter, Emily Gain, Juanessa Prince, Kristen Bounds, Claire Gordon, Nic Ismirnioglou and Lisa Kremer, as well as Sabrina Mudryk reading from her poem “They Are Waiting,” which won the 2020 Portent contest. Interview topics ranged from writing inspiration and process to the experience of submitting to magazines.

Vancouver Island writer Bernice Friesen appeared as a keynote guest in April and read from Universal Disorder, a novel published in 2020 by Freehand Books. A review by Portal’s Managing Editor Dave Flawse will appear in Portal 2021. The interview with Friesen was wide-ranging and touched on the intersection of philosophy, science and art. 


Portal 2021 is the largest issue yet at 108 pages of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and scripts accompanied by full-colour art and photography. Please visit Portal’s website for information on upcoming events and Issuu’s website from digital back issues of the magazine. 


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