There tends to be a negative knee jerk reaction that takes place in people’s minds when one says they’re going to English Club. “Don’t you mean book club?” “All you do is read, right?” “You must be an English major.” No, no and no. Literati, the College of Charleston’s official English club, is so much more than just a book club. It’s a welcoming community for everyone’s inner nerd (and we all have one), whether you’re a bibliophile (a lover of books), a film junkie, a writer, a poet, a casual reader or even just a really big fan of Harry Potter. No nerd is turned away on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. in Maybank 101.
President Valerie Keller, a senior English major with a Creative Writing concentration, resurrected the dying English club less than two years ago. When asked to describe Literati, she said, “It’s a space for people with similar interests to gather,” meaning it’s all-inclusive. It does not discriminate against major, hobby or skill level. In fact, Literati members include communication majors, biology majors, french majors, international studies majors and many others. One such member, Britteny Rogers, said of Literati, “It’s a bunch of misfits who are in love with art, human expression and the written word.”
While it is true Literati strives to become no longer synonymous with “book club,” it does, however, keep true to its mother, the College’s English Department, by reading and discussing literature. Every week Literati reads a short story, usually suggested by a fellow member, and discusses it at that week’s Thursday meeting. “It’s not just about reading a story,” emphasized member Kerrianne Marie, “It’s about having great conversations with like minded people with vastly different perspectives who are eager to hear your thoughts.” These discussions extend far beyond the literary text, too. Read a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story and be prepared to discuss BBC’s Sherlock. There are no rules and no guidelines. It’s an open forum that, “celebrates expression and intelligence and ingenuity,” Britteny Rogers stated.
In addition to reading and discussing literature, there are movie screenings, costume parties, community outreach events, guest speakers and whatever else the members deem a fun time. There are two upcoming fun events being hosted by the club. Mark your calendars for Oct. 30, which is Literati’s Dead Poets Society style spooky literature reading in the Cistern and Nov. 20, which is “The Lord of the Rings” movie night. Keller hopes that Literati will be able to eventually host large scale on and off-campus events.
Next time you hear about Literati, don’t sell yourself short by thinking that it’s just “another book club.” Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, whether or not you’ve found your niche at the College and whether or not you prefer to read the book or watch the film, Literati is a place that you could call your own. Embrace your inner nerd Thursdays at 8 p.m. in Maybank 101. Literati can be found on Facebook and Twitter. If you wish to be put on the mailing list, feel free to email Literati at firstname.lastname@example.org.