OTwo Interviews: LitSoc

Image Credit: Nurina Iman Nizam

Virtual Societies, a LitSoc Interview with Auditor Kelsey May Daly and Events Manager Jordan Feeley by Anna Blackburn

Coming back into another new year is a fresh opportunity for societies. Pitching up at the society tents, advertising different events, and being able to approach new people; all standard procedures for attracting new members. This would normally be the case, but as we all know, this year has proved difficult for societies to operate under their usual circumstances. To get insight into how the English Literary Society (LitSoc) is reacting to such challenges, I sat with Kelsey May Daly, the Auditor, and Jordan Feeley, the Events Manager, to understand how they are going about a semester of restrictions.

Of course, with the latest announcements, we now know that the remainder of the trimester will be conducted entirely online. While these anxieties have been present in our minds for some time now, the confirmation of this solidifies the difficulties societies may face. Though, this is something LitSoc has prepared for, as Feeley explains: “I think it's important to have as many events as we can, despite it being online, but the three main things that we’ll be doing is Writer's Bloc, Book Club and Coffee Evenings which will be occurring every week around the same time.”

LitSoc is hosting their Monday Coffee Evenings with a bit of a twist this year. Starting in week four of the trimester, LitSoc will be doing virtual quizzes during the Coffee evenings. The Literary Quizzes will be different each week and the members are working hard to provide fun topics that everyone will know. 

Feeley also noted that social media is playing a big role for LitSoc this year: “We're putting special emphasis on social media because, of course, it'll be difficult to get people to join our events because we can’t talk to them face to face and we can't advertise properly.” LitSoc posts weekly events on their Instagram page and reminders on their story of the event of the day. 

Seeing how virtually all societies are facing a similar dilemma, they highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts between themselves and other societies, with events being organised alongside DramSoc and many other societies to create events that interest lots of students.

Book Club is a new weekly event that the society has developed in response to limitations. LitSoc posts a poll each week to ask members what they are reading and what they would like to discuss. Members meet online to discuss what they have been reading and to provide inspiration and recommendations to fellow society members. When asked about the ideas behind Book Club, they cited an alumni book club which ran through the summer, where former students would meet online to hold similar discussions. Daly describes Book Club as “an open space to talk about books and share your favourites with other society members”.

One widely recognisable facet of LitSoc is Caveat Lector, a recurring literary journal for students to have their stories published. Caveat Lector is an award-winning journal, having received the Publication of the Year Award at the UCD Society of the Year Awards multiple times, and been nominated for a Student Media Award in 2017. This is one of the best ways to get involved in LitSoc. You can submit an original story, poem, or artwork, and if chosen, your piece will be published. Having published last semester’s instalment online exclusively, Daly mentioned how that will be the case again this semester, but they are hopeful to put out a physical copy next semester. 

At the end of October, LitSoc is co-hosting the Stand Student Festival 2020 with the Literary and Debating Society from NUI Galway. Stand is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to inform and empower third level students on justice and equality issues. This year the festival is focusing on climate change and migration. They are holding a discussion on the new anthology “Correspondences”, edited by actor Stephen Rhea and poet Jessica Traynor, on Tuesday 20th October from 1-2 pm. They will also be running a creative writing workshop with Sarah Richarson, focused on writing about climate change and migration that Friday 23rd October from 1-2 pm. Both events are free with registration and will be hosted online via Zoom. LitSoc is avidly promoting this event because writing is one of the most powerful forms of expression and when combined with the issues regarding climate change, together we can make a difference. 

Feeley, Daly, and the rest of the LitSoc committee are ready for the upcoming semester and hope to see all fans of literature and the arts at their events. To the incoming Freshers and members of Literary society, Feeley says, “LitSoc is a great opportunity for students of all studies to meet up. It is a great way to get imaginations flowing in our Writer's Bloc evenings and give yourself a chance to write creatively. It is a nice way to relax outside of classes with our coffee meetups and to chat about anything you're reading outside of class or for our Book Club. We are also planning some surprise events throughout the year. Absolutely everybody is welcome to our wonderful world of LitSoc”.

Be sure to keep up to date with LitSoc through their Facebook page UCD LitSoc and on Instagram @ucdlitsoc!

Follow Stand on Instagram @stand.ie and use the hashtag #STANDupformigrants.