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Vancouver Island Regional Library unveils new art and literature magazine

‘Sea and Cedar’ features poetry, stories and visual art from across the Island
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley is the managing editor of VIRL’s new online art and literature magazine, ‘Sea and Cedar.’ (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island Regional Library is showcasing the work of Island writers and artists in a new online magazine and gallery.

This week VIRL released the inaugural issue of Sea and Cedar. The magazine features poetry, art and stories by 18 contributors from across VIRL’s service area, including two Nanaimo writers. Sea and Cedar is an initiative of Nanaimo Harbourfront Library staff, with librarian April Ripley leading the project and serving as managing editor.

“I’m really pleased with all of the submissions that we got and the content that we were able to put out,” she said. “I think it’s a really fantastic representation of the creative talents that exist all throughout our service area.”

In all, 111 writers submitted 190 works for consideration. Ripley said a team of three read all the work and selected the final 17. Although she was pleased with the number of submissions, Ripley said choosing the ones to include “definitely wasn’t an easy process.”

“We wanted to, if we could, get a mix of newer writers and maybe more established ones. That was one thing, but also just really good quality writing, interesting voices, interesting perspectives,” she said.

Thirty-two artists submitted work to the magazine. Ripley said it was tough to choose one to highlight in the magazine, but ultimately self-taught Shawnigan Lake artist Lindsay Henderson was chosen.

“It just has a joyful energy, especially the picture that we put on the cover, which I thought really suited the exciting new project that we’re doing,” Ripley said of Henderson’s work.

Since there was so much art left over, the Sea and Cedar team created an online gallery to show off the work of the other artists.

Even as the first issue of Sea and Cedar is hot off the virtual press, Ripley said plans are already underway for the next one. She said the goal is for the magazine to be a twice-yearly publication, with the next edition set for winter 2022.

Sea and Cedar can be viewed here and the virtual art gallery can be accessed here.

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