Founded in Fall 2021 with the goal of creating a supportive place for Bellevue College writers and readers, BC’s Literature Club attempts to strengthen the pipeline from reader to writer. From poets, to novelists, to playwrights, the club caters to all aspiring authors. “It felt like it was a good opportunity to branch out and meet like-minded people,” said Jessica Duling, a running-start student and member since 2021. Garnering over 40 online members on its Discord server, the club organized and hosted informative and engaging meetings through Zoom this past year.
“It was a very good way for students to see the other side of professors,” the club’s previous secretary, Madhuhumita Rajesh, commented regarding the lectures that took place throughout last year by published professors. “Because we always know them as teachers and now we got to see them as actual writers,” she concluded. In one meeting, Professor Dan Tremegalio discussed his writing journey as well as his latest book, “Half an Arc & Artifacts & Then the Other Half: A Novella & Stories.” Another lecture was hosted by Professor Martha Silano, who discussed her experience with writing and how it developed.
“I attended the two English-faculty published-author Zoom talks, the talk by the faculty ‘Belletrist’ editor, and one meeting of the spring book club and enjoyed them quite a bit as well as learned new things,” said Professor Cara Diaconoff, the club’s advisor. Last February, the club hosted an information session regarding BC’s literary magazines, with speaker Professor Cassie Cross, to highlight the opportunity to be a part of making the year’s “Belletrist” and “Bellezine” editions. BC’s Belletrist is a literary arts journal while Bellezine is a mini-issue of Belletrist but solely composed of student-submitted works.
Towards the end of the 2021-2022 school year, the club initiated a book club. Members attended a meeting to get introduced to the possible books, voted on them through a survey, and then the book that the majority voted for was then announced. Following this, members attended weekly discussion meetings regarding specific chapters that they were assigned to read. Last year, due to time restraints, the club only managed to read one book, “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller, but they hope to read several this school year.
Although the events organized and opportunities highlighted are an important aspect to the club, what strengthens the message and purpose is its members. “I really wanted to improve my writing skills and I also just wanted to make a couple friends who also read so I can talk about books,” Rajesh explained.
After being asked who should join the club, Rajesh shed light on her experience: “I think it’s for everybody. I’m [now] doing engineering at the University of Washington and I just wanted a place where I didn’t have to think about school. And so if you’re like me and you want to do a major that’s not really related to English, I think it’s a great way to zone out and reach out to meet people. But if you are interested in English, it is a great way to start building connections, and a great way — a great platform — to meet more people who might share the same interests as you.” Diaconoff shared her perspective on what type of student should join: “Any student who loves to read fiction, poetry and/or other creative literature should join. I think it might be especially beneficial for younger students, in that they might especially appreciate the freedom of a college-based club, where they can read and discuss (and write) whatever they want.”
Diaconoff has been with the club since the very beginning of its charter, so she has seen the growth of the club more than most. “I think they get a sense of community as well as practice in professional skills such as organizing and promoting events and interviewing and being interviewed,” she shared when asked about what benefits the members receive. Along with that, Duling stated that “You get to meet a lot of like-minded people and share that [literature] passion.”
For accessibility, the club hosted online meetings through the platform Zoom. Regular meetings and events will commence soon now that this year’s positions for the club’s leaderboard have been filled.
Find updates on the club’s Instagram. If you are a BC student and prospective member, there are no requirements for joining the club other than to accept the club’s Discord server invite. If you have any questions regarding the club, you can reach out to the contacts on the dedicated Bellevue College Student Organizations page.