Meanwhile, Home Author Spotlight: Lucia Lorenzi

Meanwhile, Home Author Spotlight: Lucia Lorenzi

Lucia Lorenzi is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her research focuses on representations of sexual violence in contemporary Canadian literature, drama, and other media, with specific interests in the strategic use of silence as well as in public responses to perpetrator narratives. Her work has previously been published in West Coast Line and in TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.

Along with Laura Moss and Brendan McCormack, Lucia is the author of the interview “On Refugees, Running, and the Politics of Writing: An Interview with Lawrence Hill.”

Article Abstract:

A former journalist and political speechwriter, Lawrence Hill has published ten books of fiction and non-fiction. The impact of his work as a novelist, essayist, memoirist, activist, and educator speaks to the power of writing to effect social change. “Artists have voices,” he affirms in the interview below, “and their voices can help influence—profoundly, sometimes—the way we see ourselves, and the way we see our country and the world and our roles in them.” Hill’s voice has contributed widely to pressing conversations about race, Black history, and social justice in North America for over two decades. Laura Moss, Brendan McCormack, and Lucia Lorenzi joined Hill to discuss his most recent novel, The Illegal (2015), which explores the contemporary refugee crisis in a global context, as part of a larger conversation about the conjunction of art and politics in Hill’s work as an author, public intellectual, and prominent voice within the Canadian literary community.

Canadian Literature issue 232, Meanwhile, Home, is available to order through our online store.

Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community Author Spotlight: Judith Leggatt

Judith Leggatt is an Associate Professor of English at Lakehead University. Dr. Leggatt’s primary area of teaching is First Nations Literature, but she has taught a wide variety of courses at Lakehead, ranging from 1st year to the graduate level. She has taught Caribbean Literature, Canadian Literature, Speculative Fiction, and Women’s Literature. She was hired, in part, to develop post-colonial studies at Lakehead, and since she has been here, she has created several new courses, including Postcolonial Literature, Caribbean Literature, First Nations Women’s Writing, and Speculative Fiction. She teaches courses cross-listed with Indigenous Learning and with Women’s Studies, and is committed to accommodating the different learning styles and background experiences of diverse student groups.

Judith is the author of the article “Material Connections in Skawennati’s Digital Worlds.”


This paper will examine the possibilities of Indigenous internet community by placing the work of Mohawk media artist Skawennati Tricia Fragnito in the framework of the cyberpunk genre, which imagines the ways in which human people interact

with machine and digital spaces, and how those connections change both individuals and societies. By comparing Imagining Indians in the 25th Century and TimeTravellerTM with Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which Skawennati references in both texts, I will show how Skawennati Indigenizes understandings of the supposedly “new world” of cyberspace. Overcoming the biases embedded in technology can create maps and pathways through which Indigenous artists and activists can change human social systems, creating new avenues for community engagement.

Canadian Literature issue 230-31, Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community, is available to order through our online store.

Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Diversity, Inclusivity, and Mentorship”

Diversity, Inclusivity, and Mentorship in Canadian Literary Culture: Histories and Futures

At present, we are witnessing turmoil in literary culture. Conversations about diversity, inclusivity, and barriers to access in Canadian publishing are coming to a head. Writers, publishers, and universities—where literature and creative writing takes on a formalized pedagogical imperative—have struggled to attend to shifting understandings of what makes a more equitable and robust literary culture.

In Canada, literature and literary culture have been consistently imbricated in tensions between established or popular writers, critics, practices, and movements on the one hand, and other voices seeking to shift aesthetics, disregard gatekeeping, and work for a wider scope of inclusivity on the other hand. This special issue of Canadian Literature seeks essays that engage with questions of access, diversity, inclusivity, and mentorship in literary culture, both historical and present. When has intergenerational mentorship worked? How has it gone wrong? Given our current state of affairs, how might mentorship benefit from more multidirectional movement? While open to all submissions that address one or more of these issues, the editors particularly encourage work that engages with the following:

  • Literary histories that trace un/ethical strategies of mentorship
  • Considerations of literary representations of mentorship, including but not limited to the campus novel and the Künstlerroman
  • Critical methodologies for historicizing and reorienting toxic power structures
  • Strategies for intergenerational knowledge transfer in literary communities and institutions
  • Literary representations of mentorship and the teaching of literature and/or writing
  • Capacious and generous modes of solidarity in Canadian literary culture
  • Critical accounts of initiatives made by Canadian presses and publishers to address problematic power structures
  • Structural impediments to intergenerational understanding
  • Impediments to mentorship alongside a rise in prize culture and other public programming.
  • Implications of technological change on mentorship and writerly communication
  • The role of mentorship in the development of literary cultural production
  • Archival evidence for literary mentorship where the published record is lacking
  • Where do institutions of literary culture – the university, the newspaper, the literary reading series, the editor, the publisher, etc. – appear inCanadian literature, how are they represented, and why?
  • What are the genres in which contemporary thinkers are articulating dissatisfactions with these institutions (the twitter thread, the open letter) and can we think of them as part of our body of literature?

The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2018. Please consult for instructions on how to submit via Open Journal System. All papers submitted will undergo a formal peer review process through Canadian Literature. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 8th ed.) Maximum word length for articles is 7,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited. The guest editor of this special issue will be Erin Wunker. All correspondence will go through the CanLit office.

Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community Author Spotlight: Pauline Wakeham

Pauline Wakeham is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario, situated on the land of the Attawandaron, Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Leni-Lunaape peoples. She is a settler scholar of Indigenous literary and cultural studies. Her recent work has considered discourses of reconciliation, reparations for settler colonial injustices, as well as the incommensurabilities of settler-state reconciliation with Indigenous theories and practices of resurgence.

Pauline is the author of the article “Beyond Comparison: Reading Relations between Indigenous Nations.”

Article Abstract:

While the tensions and potential affinities between Native literary nationalism and “Trans-Indigenous” comparative studies of Indigenous literatures have been debated at some length, much less has been said about how, in literary critical practice, scholars might formulate reading methods in which “tribal specificity and pan-tribalism might corroborate each other” (Womack 226). How might scholars read for both difference and connection between and across Indigenous nations, and under what conditions is it appropriate and generative to do so? What kinds of methods might enable such readings while still affirming Native literary nationalism’s call for centering Indigenous knowledges and affirming Indigenous nations’ self-determination? This essay takes up these questions first by engaging the work of Chickasaw scholar Chadwick Allen and Māori scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville, two critics who have formulated methods of literary analysis for reading “Indigenous-Indigenous encounter[s]” (Somerville “The Lingering” 23). Learning from the possibilities and potential limits of Allen’s and Somerville’s methods, the paper then moves towards elucidating a mode of analysis that de-centres comparative and transnational approaches inherited from Euro-Western academia and, in turn, re-centres Indigenous terms of self-recognition and relationality. In doing so, the essay seeks to translate Native literary nationalism’s call for prioritizing Indigenous knowledges and lifeways into reading methods that attend carefully to how Indigenous authors articulate nation-to-nation engagements.

Canadian Literature issue 230-31, Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community, is available to order through our online store.

Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community Author Spotlight: Brandon Kerfoot

Brandon Kerfoot is a settler scholar from Edmonton, in Treaty 6 territory. He is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, where he analyzes when and how persons and politicized groups claim kinship with animals in Arctic literature and politics.

Brandon is the author of the article “Beyond Symbolism: Polar Bear Characters and Inuit Kinship in Markoosie’s Harpoon of the Hunter.”

Article Abstract:

Markoosie’s Harpoon of the Hunter is the coming-of-age story turned survival narrative of Kamik, a young Inuk whose community is attacked by a rabid polar bear. This paper engages with the existing scholarship on the text to show that it has favoured a symbolic interpretation of polar bears and other characters. Though the polar bear surfaces as a potentially symbolic element, I argue that the sequence of multiple bear attacks becomes increasingly literal, stripping away the symbolic resonance and revealing a polar bear character. By layering over the polar bear symbol with a relationship between Kamik and polar bears, Harpoon of the Hunter invites readers to shift from symbolic to literal relationship models. I apply this model to a reading of the final scene, Kamik’s suicide, to argue that the text undermines excessive symbolism and demands that material relationships be acknowledged and maintained.

Canadian Literature issue 230-31, Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community, is available to order through our online store.




New Issue: Meanwhile, Home #232 (Spring 2017)

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 232 (Spring 2017), Meanwhile, Home! Laura Moss and Brendan McCormack begin their editorial:

As we write in Vancouver in the summer of 2017, British Columbia remains in a state of emergency as hundreds of forest fires continue to burn across the province. Wild fires in BC burnt an estimated 1,170,000 hectares of land between April 1 and August 23. … After one of the wettest winters on record in Vancouver with 240.2 mm of rainfall in November 2016, we’ve seen one of the driest summers, with only 1.8 mm of rain in July 2017—making this the province’s “worst wildfire season on record.”  …

With both the destructive reality and the regenerative potential of wildfires in mind, this editorial was conceived early in the summer as we considered the implications of drawing an analogy between the recent “firestorms” of CanLit (as amorphously defined as that field has become in public discourse) and the wildfires. After a year in which the asymmetries of power and privilege operating within and upon the field have been newly illuminated by a number of high-profile flare-ups, we have seen many people drawing on fire metaphorically on social media, often with images of dumpster fires accompanied by #CanLit. Statements like David Gaertner’s succinct tweet in response to the distressing re-emergence of the Appropriation of Voice debates abounded: “If this is #CanLit, let it burn” (n. pag). It’s a provocative metaphor to think with, given the state of both our home province and our critical fields this summer, for its power to acknowledge the damage wrought within a combustible climate but also to spark ways of looking forward and affirming new futures. What does CanLit need to regenerate after critical destruction? What conversations might grow after the critical fuels have burned away the old and sometimes even decaying ideas? What might thrive in a newly cleared out ecosystem that promotes diversity and enhanced habitability for a range of critics, writers, and publishers? What kind of impact could shifting winds have on public discourse? What is the critical, literary equivalent of fireweed? Given the pervasively tinder-dry conditions in Canadian literary culture these days, what might catch fire next?

… Meanwhile, as some of CanLit simmers, or not, the articles in this issue engage complex notions of home—as a space of failed futurity, as a space of refuge, as a volatile space, as a space to run to, and as a space of witnessing. “Meanwhile” also signifies “so long as a period of intervening time lasts; for the interim” (OED). Thinking about CanLit as a kind of home for criticism, meanwhile, we ask what futures will emerge from the embers of the intervening present and the interim.

We are in the meanwhile, it seems, in CanLit criticism, where conditions remain tinder dry.

—Laura Moss and Brendan McCormack, “Meanwhile, Home: Tinder-Dry Conditions

This issue also features:

  • An Interview with author Lawrence Hill by Laura Moss, Brendan McCormack, and Lucia Lorenzi
  • Articles by Dale Tracy, Petra Fachinger, Heather Olaveson, Evangeline Holtz, and Kailin Wright
  • Poetry by Arleen Paré, Jeremy Stewart, Sam Weselowski, Chris Oke, Robert Hilles, and Bill Howell
  • Reviews by Kristen Alm, Emily Bednarz, Nicole Birch-Bayley, Natalie Boldt, Liza Bolen, Nicholas Bradley, Connie T. Braun, Bettina B. Cenerelli, MLA Chernoff, Michael Collins, Joel Deshaye, David Eso, Caela Fenton, Susan Fisher, Marc André Fortin, Andre Furlani, James Gifford, Beverley Haun, Benjamin Hertwig, Karl E. Jirgens, Martin Kuester, Daniel Laforest, Dorothy F. Lane, William V. Lombardi, Andrea MacPherson, Dancy Mason, Jody Mason, Emily McGiffin, Robert McGill, Emma Morgan-Thorp, Shane Neilson, Catherine Owen, Ruth Panofsky, Laurie Ricou, Hilary Turner, Emily Wall, Carl Watts, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, Ian Williams, and Christine “Xine” Yao
  • A special Opinions and Notes by Nicholas Bradley


The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy reading!



Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings”

It is now commonly accepted that Canadian literature has become a global literature, implying that any understanding of textual localities is traversed by vectors that exceed, complicate, and extend the nation in physical, historical, and cultural ways. But the gaze is seldom reversed and little attention has been paid to the role of international scholarship in the current transformation and development of the field.

How are Canadian texts read and circulated beyond the national borders? What is the place of Canadian literature in the institutional spaces of universities outside Canada? How do those transnational contexts negotiate the relationship between texts and readers? Are there defining differences in the ways non-Canadian scholars approach CanLit? How does transnational scholarship influence, challenge, enrich, and rescale Canadian literary production?

This special issue invites scholars of Canadian literature from around the globe to engage critically with any aspect of Canadian literary production, dissemination, or reception. Essays should implicitly bring to view the two-way direction of reading and writing Canadian literature globally, demonstrating the porosity of transnational scholarship as well as advancing innovative perspectives that may contribute to the rescaling of the field.

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (8th ed). Articles should be between 6500 and 7000 words, including endnotes and works cited.

Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submissions system (OJS) by the deadline of May 15, 2018.

The guest editor of this issue will be Eva Darias-Beautell of University of La Laguna, Spain.

New Poetry Editor, Phinder Dulai

Canadian Literature is pleased to welcome Phinder Dulai as our new poetry editor, with many thanks to Stephen Collis for his wonderful and dedicated service as poetry editor from 2014 to 2017.

Phinder Dulai is the author of three poetry collections: dream / arteries (Talonbooks, 2014), Basmati Brown (Nightwood Editions, 2000), and Ragas from the Periphery (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1995). His work has also been published in Canadian Literature, Offerings, Cue Books Anthology, Ankur, Matrix, Memewar Magazine, Rungh, The Capilano Review, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Toronto South Asian Review, subTerrain and West Coast LINE.

A consulting editor and member of the Talonbooks’ Poetry Board, Phinder Dulai is also a co-founder of the interdisciplinary contemporary arts group South of Fraser Inter-Arts Collective (SOFIA/c), and a past adjudicator for the Canada Council for the Arts.

Recently, Phinder Dulai led the design and served as faculty lead for Centering Ourselves: Writing in a Racialized Canada. This residency was hosted at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada’s first dedicated literary incubator for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour authors.

We look forward to the creative directions Phinder Dulai will take Canadian Literature’s poetry section. We welcome him to our CanLit team!

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