Megaphone Magazine’s Special Literary Issue Showcases ‘Voices of the Street’

The Vancouver street paper's latest issue features the literary talents of vendors participating in its creative writing program.

Credit: Megaphone

With ‘Voices of the Street,’ Megaphone Magazine launches works by vendors and Downtown Eastside residents participating in its creative writing program


Megaphone Magazine, Vancouver’s street paper sold by low-income and homeless people, has been engaging writers within the Downtown Eastside over the past couple of years through a special creative writing program reserved for the magazine’s vendors.


Megaphone Magazine

“Voices of the Street” Special Literary Issue


Available from Megaphone vendors through May and June 2011. See website for vendor locations.


Launch party:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 7 p.m.

Waldorf Hotel

1489 E Hastings St, Vancouver

Tickets $10


Website | Facebook | Twitter

The writing program originally started out as one class held every Friday at the detox centre Onsite, with hopes of encouraging the participants to write and tell their stories. Work from the class was published in the magazine and, soon after, the program expanded to include six other classes, most recently including a class devoted specifically to the vendors of Megaphone and a community program geared toward getting stories from area residents.


The program has quickly become a favourite, its participants using the opportunity for self-exploration and expression.


“I never used to write; I never knew quite how,” says Sarah Oulette, a participant in the Megaphone writing workshop at the Rainier Hotel. “After learning all kinds of writing styles, I find myself now releasing myself through a simple pen and paper.


“To someone like me, having extra outlets is the very key to learning to live all over again. I love attending Megaphone‘s writing group.”


Over the past two years, Megaphone has been publishing the stories and poems, and now a special literary issue is being launched that includes work published over the past couple of years along with new work from the recent workshops.

Megaphone creative writing class


Megaphone onsite workshop

Megaphone’s creative writing workshops, held at Onsite, help the city’s

disenfranchised find their voice. (Image: Jessica Abeita)


The 68-page issue titled “Voices of the Street” gives validity to work to a community that is seen in the news but very rarely heard.


“By putting out a high-quality literary magazine, ‘Voices of the Street’ allows us to celebrate and give value to the writers published in this special issue,” says Sean Condon, executive director of Megaphone.


“There is such incredible talent in the Downtown Eastside and so many important stories that need to be heard so we can gain a better understanding about homelessness, addiction and mental illness. ‘Voices of the Street’ allows Megaphone to showcase this talent and help raise awareness about these issues.”


Sean Condon, Megaphone

Megaphone executive director Sean Condon. (Image: Jacob Hopkins)


The writing program has further helped some of the vendors of Megaphone engage with the magazine by including their own work and helping them find their own voice.


Ron McGrath, a vendor of Megaphone, found a voice through the writing program: “Megaphone has allowed me to pursue my career as a writer and put me in a place where I can start over and move forward. It’s a great stepping stone.”


The “Voices of the Street” issue of Megaphone Magazine will launch at a reception at the Waldorf Hotel on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at 7 p.m. Several contributors from the issue will read poems and stories. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds go toward the Megaphone Magazine Community Creative Writing Program.


The issue will be sold by vendors throughout Vancouver over the next several months. Megaphone vendors buy each of these very special issues for $2 and sell them on the street for $5. See the Megaphone website for more details and to find a vendor near you.