This post is not about battle rap. Sorry.
But bear with us, because some of the city’s best battlers are completely unknown in rap circles.
Toronto is home to Canada’s first and only WRITE CLUB, a “bare knuckled lit” league with chapters in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Fransisco.
Two authors are each given an opposing idea and a strict five-to-seven minutes to persuade the audience, who ultimately choose which writer’s charity will get a donation. It’s a lot like rap battles without the rap (or the misogyny).
Gun bars give way to grammar. Punctuation replaces personal insults. But trash talk is still strongly encouraged.
The combatants are invited by the organizers or selected after applying. Mostly it’s a mix of literary writers, journalists, bloggers, and comedians. They duke it out over issues: Basement vs. Attic, Early vs. Late, Spontaneity vs. Planning, or Friend vs. Stranger. The writing can be funny, or sad, or touching, but it’s always entertaining, and seven minutes isn’t really enough time to get bored anyways.
Between battles, hosts Catherine McCormick and Alicia Louise Merchant keep the energy high with charm and hilarity.