We are thrilled to welcome Leena Desai, our new Outreach Coordinator, to the Vancouver Writers Fest team! With a background in publishing and editorial, Leena will be leading community and school outreach to program youth education events and connect with our community partners.
We chatted with Leena who let us know a little more about herself and what her plans are for this role.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing program. I’m from Mumbai, India, and before I came to Canada to study at SFU, I worked as an associate editor on an in-flight travel magazine called JetWings and for Architectural Digest with Condé Nast India. In my free time, I like watching movies and catching up with friends.
What attracted you to the Master of Publishing program?
What attracted me to the program is that it’s one of the only master’s programs in publishing in the world, which is pretty cool. When I came here, what I loved about the program was the exposure it gave me to the Canadian publishing industry, the chance to study under faculty that are so knowledgeable, approachable and progressive, and the opportunities it offered me, such as an editorial internship at Simon & Schuster Canada in Toronto.
What are your priorities when you step into this new role?
My priority is to absorb the ethos of Vancouver Writers Fest and convey that as best as I can to the people with whom we want to make and maintain long-lasting relationships.
This Outreach Coordinator position involves working with community organizations as well as schools. What excites you about the relationships you will cultivate with these various groups?
I seek and find a lot of personal fulfillment and joy from the work I do and the people with whom I work and interact. I am excited to meet people who believe as much as I do in the power of books and their ability to make a difference to people’s lives. On a practical level, I hope to make connections with people who can participate in Festival programming year round and with whom we can collaborate on new and interesting projects.
As you know, youth education programming is one of our year-round activities. Can you share what you hope to achieve with these programs?
I hope to expand the network of schools where we conduct the Writers in the Classroom events and to continue organizing this event in spaces other than schools such as community centres.
And finally, what are you currently reading?
I am reading two books, Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things and Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Leena, and welcome to the Festival team!