“Decolonizing Conversations”: Margery Fee’s McLean Lectures

January 31, 2017

Margery Fee, past editor of Canadian Literature (2007-2015) and current Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies at UBC (2015-2017), will be delivering her McLean Lectures this coming February and March. Her three public lectures on Decolonizing Conversations: Indigenous Texts in the Pacific Northwest before 1992” will take place at UBC’s Point Grey campus on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm:

February 9: Stories We Didn’t Hear: Controlling Traditional Oral Stories

March 9: Writing We Didn’t Read: Manifestos, Declarations and Other Collective Texts

March 16: Lives We Overlooked: Framing Indigenous Life Stories

Venue: Green College, Coach House (6201 Cecil Green Park Road)

Professor Fee’s lectures will build from her extensive experience in the fields of Indigenous and Canadian literatures, cultures, and languages, discussing the history of oral and written Indigenous texts in the Pacific Northwest. Her “Decolonizing Conversations” promise to open vital dialogue on critical approaches to reading and teaching rich histories of Indigenous cultural production formerly ignored or overlooked within the academy.

The McLean Lectures follow after the publication of Professor Fee’s book, Literary Land Claims: The “Indian Land Question” from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat, which was named as a finalist for the 2015 ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism. For more information on the current McLean Chair, see the Canadian Studies website.

We would like to once again congratulate our former editor, and we look forward to her upcoming McLean Lectures.

Public Symposium: New Directions in Transpacific Cultural Research

January 20, 2017

Simon Fraser University (SFU) will be hosting a public symposium on “New Directions in Transpacific Research” from February 9-10, 2017, at SFU’s Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver. The symposium will feature keynote lectures from Chua Beng Huat (National University of Singapore) and Lisa Yoneyama (University of Toronto), as well as plenary sessions on “The Postcolonial Pacific & Minor Transnationalisms” and “Transpacific Affect and Intimate Geographies,” bringing together an exciting group of international scholars as presenters and discussants. This event marks the launch of SFU’s Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research (ITCR), a multidisciplinary research unit focused on transpacific issues and methodologies in new cultural research and critical analysis.

Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 227.In Canadian Literature’s recent issue on Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation, scholars productively explored the field of Asian Canadian literature through transpacific and transnational frames of analysis, following the question posed by guest editors Christine Kim and Christopher Lee in their editorial: “How would Asian Canadian critique look if we focused instead on transnational flows of labour, capital, and cultures as well as the logics of empire and processes of settler colonialisms?” The upcoming ITCR Symposium promises two days of stimulating discussion that intersects and expands upon such concerns within the wider interdisciplinary field of transpacific cultural production and criticism.

The symposium is free and open to the public. You can register (required) and view the full program of events, presentations, and speakers at the ITCR website.

Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Ecocriticism after Ecocriticism”

November 21, 2016

In the last two decades, ecocriticism has become thoroughly established in Canadian literary studies. Environmental approaches to Canadian literature have transformed conventional ideas of nature and natural aesthetics; reshaped understandings of places, regions, animals, and labour; and imbued scholarship and teaching with political urgency. What in the 1990s was a new and insurrectionary critical development has become a profusion of conferences, articles, and books about Canadian environmental writing. Some twenty-five years after the term “ecocriticism” first appeared in this journal, and one hundred issues after Laurie Ricou’s “So Big About Green” editorial, the field is institutionally robust, eclectic in subject and method, and theoretically sophisticated—but also due for critical re-examination. Ongoing public controversies over tankers and hydroelectric dams, the continuing infringement of Indigenous sovereignty, the economic and political sway of the Alberta oil sands, and the increasing effects of anthropogenic climate change make a reconsideration of ecocriticism all the more pressing. Studies as different from each other as Timothy Morton’s Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (2007) and Jedediah Purdy’s After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene (2015) have attempted to dispense with inherited environmental ideologies in favour of critical, political, and aesthetic categories more appropriate to a radically changing biosphere. Where, then, is Canadian environmental literature after nature? And where are Canadian literary studies after ecocriticism?

Nicholas Bradley - logging truck 2016This special issue invites essays that examine the state of ecocriticism in the Canadian context, that take original environmental approaches to Canadian writing, that explore creative responses to environmental destruction and growth, and that consider the functions of literature and criticism in the neoliberal Anthropocene. How do we imagine environmental aesthetics today and for the future? What do nature writers of the past, as well as the present, have to tell us in the time of pipelines, protests, and protection of the land? We are especially interested in essays that suggest new paradigms for understanding the shape and politics of “nature” in the literatures of Canada. Comparative, multilingual, and transnational approaches, or other modes that emphasize the plurality of ecologies and natures in Canada, are particularly welcome. Articles that do more than examine a single text in light of environmental theories are encouraged. We publish essays on fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama, and inter-genre collaborations. Contributors are invited to imagine new modes of ecocritical inquiry and to examine Indigenous ecologies and the decolonizing possibilities of environmental criticism. Studies of environmental literature from all historical periods are welcome.

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow the bibliographic format of the MLA Handbook, 7th ed. Articles should be between 6,000 and 7,000 words, including endnotes and works cited. Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submissions system (OJS) by the deadline of April 15, 2017. See our submission guidelines for details.

This issue will be edited by Nicholas Bradley and Laura Moss.

Questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit(at)ubc.ca.

Leonard Cohen, 1934-2016

November 18, 2016

cover034Leonard Cohen—acclaimed Canadian poet, novelist, singer, songwriter, musician, and wordsmith—passed away on November 7. Before his rise to prominence as a singer-songwriter in the late 1960s, Cohen was already an important voice in Canadian literature, having published several collections of poetry and two novels. In 1967, following the publication of Cohen’s controversial and critically acclaimed Beautiful Losers (1966), Canadian Literature produced an issue dedicated to Views of Leonard Cohen. The opening words from Desmond Pacey’s article in that issue, “The Phenomenon of Leonard Cohen,” provide a reflection on Cohen’s cultural influence at the time:

In naming Leonard Cohen a phenomenon, I am motivated by the quantity, quality and variety of his achievement. Still only thirty-three, Cohen has published four books of verse and two novels, and has made a national if not international reputation by his poetry reading, folk-singing, and skill with a guitar. The best of his poems have lyrical grace and verbal inevitability; his two novels are as perceptive in content and as sophisticated in technique as any that have appeared in English since the Second World War; and his voice has a magical incantatory quality which hypnotizes his audiences . . . into a state of bliss if not grace. (5)

Canadian Literature has been reviewing writing by and about Cohen since 1961, and has published several articles and one special issue of criticism on his work. The following list of reviews and articles from our archives speaks to the shifting creative and critical resonances of Cohen’s writing over time:

Reviews of Cohen’s Work

  • The Lean and the Luscious” by David Brominge originally appeared in Canadian Literature 10 (Autumn 1961): 87-88. Rev. of The Spice-Box of Earth by Leonard Cohen.
  • Love and Loss” by George Robertson originally appeared in Salute to E. J. Pratt. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 19 (Winter 1964): 69-70. Rev. of The Favorite Game by Leonard Cohen.
  • Of Beauty and Unmeaning” by Elliott B. Gose, Jr. originally appeared in Apprenticeships in Discovery. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 29 (Summer 1966): 61-63. Rev. of Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen.
  • Inside Leonard Cohen” by George Bowering originally appeared in Publishing in Canada. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 33 (Summer 1967): 71-72. Rev. of Parasites of Heaven by Leonard Cohen.
  • Cohen’s Women” by Tom Wayman originally appeared in Contemporary Canadian Poets. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 60 (Spring 1974): 89-93. Rev. of The Energy of Slaves by Leonard Cohen.
  • Prayers” by Rowland Smith originally appeared in Paradigms of Doubleness. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 104 (Spring 1985): 155-156. Rev. of Book of Mercy by Leonard Cohen.
  • Leonard Cohen: Travels with the ‘Tourist of Beauty’” by Ira Bruce Nadel originally appeared in Gabrielle Roy contemporaine/The Contemporary Gabrielle Roy. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 192 (Spring 2007): 150-151. Rev. of Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen.

Reviews of Books about Cohen

  • Critical Limitations” by Douglas Barbour originally appeared in Views of Novelists. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 49 (Summer 1971): 75-77.
  • Cohen and His Critics” originally appeared in Remembering Roderick Haig-Brown. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 71 (Winter 1976): 110-110.
  • Cohen” by Lorraine McMullen originally appeared in The Making of Modern Poetry. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 87 (Winter 1980): 118-119.
  • Diamonds and Shit” by Peter Cumming originally appeared in Urquhart and Munro. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 150 (Autumn 1996): 134-136.
  • The Two Cohens” by Norman Ravvin originally appeared in Writers Talking. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 183 (Winter 2004): 167-169.
  • Wayward Saint” by Mark Harris originally appeared in Of Borders and Bioregions. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 218 (Autumn 2013): 187.

Articles about Cohen

Kwahiatonhk! Salon du livre des Premières Nations, Wendake, QC

November 17, 2016

SLPN2016 - flyerLa cinquième édition du Salon du livre des Premières Nations se tiendra du 25 au 27 novembre 2016, à Wendake et à Québec.

Les quinze dernières années ont vu un développement important de la littérature produite par des écrivains autochtones francophones au Québec. Le nombre de livres publiés se multiplie de façon exponentielle. Même si l’originalité et la qualité de cette littérature sont évidentes, l’infrastructure littéraire québécoise tarde à donner aux auteurs autochtones la visibilité requise à une véritable émergence. C’est ce créneau que Kwahiatonhk! (« nous écrivons ! » en langue wendat) s’est donné comme mission d’occuper par le SLPN, comme il n’existe au Québec aucun autre festival de ce type. Le Salon du livre des Premières Nations (SLPN) est un événement littéraire à échelle humaine où de véritables rencontres sont possibles entre les auteurs des Premières Nations, les éditeurs et, surtout, le grand public (Source: Kwahiatonk! 2016).

L’ouverture officielle, qui aura lieu le 25 novembre à la Maison de la littérature à Québec, soulignera l’œuvre de la poète innue Joséphine Bacon avec le spectacle littéraire Meshkanatsheu. Puis, le cœur de l’évènement se déroulera les 26 et 27 novembre de 10 h à 16 h, à l’Hôtel-Musée des Premières Nations à Wendake. Une vingtaine d’auteurs seront présents pour des prestations, entrevues, ateliers et discussions avec le grand public. Parmi les invités, notons Sylvain Rivard, Michel Noël, Christine Sioui Wawanoloath, Jean Sioui, Manon Nolin, Joséphine Bacon, Naomi Fontaine, Melissa Mollen Dupuis, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Rosanna Deerchild, Domingo Cisneros et le bédéiste Jay Odjick.

Voir le programme détaillé ici.

New Issue: Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation #227 (Winter 2015)

November 16, 2016

Canadian LiteraScreen Shot 2016-11-16 at 12.32.56 PMture’s Issue 227 (Winter 2015), Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation, is now available for order. Guest Editors Christopher Lee and Christine Kim introduce this special issue:

Extending Canadian Literature’s commitment to Asian Canadian studies, this special issue interrogates how national epistemes have become sedimented in the field itself, often in barely discernible ways. It is this self-reflexivity that we hope distinguishes Asian Canadian critique from the many cultural, activist, political, and institutional projects that have coalesced around this term. How would Asian Canadian critique look if we focused instead on transnational flows of labour, capital, and cultures as well as the logics of empire and processes of settler colonialisms? Historically, Asian Canadian communities were produced through migrations that took place in the shadow of British, American, and other empires. More recently, Asian Canadians have appeared as labourers, merchants, refugees, undocumented migrants, international students, and so on. These “racial forms” have repeatedly placed the Asian Canadian subject at the intersections of capital, empire, and nation.

—Christopher Lee and Christine Kim, “Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation”

Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation features articles by Guy Beauregard, Donald Goellnicht, Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Malissa Phung, Jenny Heijun Wills, and Timothy Yu; a Forum curated by Christopher Lee and Christine Kim; Opinions and Notes by Nicholas Bradley; new poetry; and new book reviews.

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

New Editorial Team Members

November 15, 2016

Canadian Literature is pleased to welcome four new members to our editorial team!

2016 Associate Editors - collage

(left to right, top to bottom) Ceilidh Hart, Shannon Smyrl, Nicholas Bradley, Sarah Henzi

Nicholas Bradley (University of Victoria) has joined us for a three-year term as Associate Editor of Reviews, bringing his expertise in poetry and environmental literatures to the shelves. Sarah Henzi (McGill University), a specialist in Indigenous literary studies, has come on board as Assistant Editor of Francophone Writing for the next year.

We also welcome two new Assistant Editors for the CanLit Guides project. Shannon Smyrl (Thompson Rivers University) and Ceilidh Hart (University of the Fraser Valley) will be working with CanLit Guides Associate Editor Kathryn Grafton (UBC) to bring sixteen new chapters to publication, on topics such as food as metaphor; comics and graphic texts; song lyrics; narratives of technology and identity; Indigenous and diasporic texts; and many more.

With the continued service of Poetry Editor Stephen Collis (SFU) and Glenn Deer (UBC) returning to help with reviews, we now have members of the editorial team from six different universities. We are immensely grateful to our new colleagues for joining us, and we look forward to working with them.

Co-editors of The Cambridge History of Canadian Literature Write Foreword to Newly-Released Japanese Translation

November 10, 2016

We would like to congratulate former editor of Canadian Literature, Professor Eva-Marie Kröller (UBC Department of English), as well as 9781107646193former editorial board member and contributor Coral Ann Howells (Professor Emerita, University of Reading; Senior Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies, University of London) on the release of a Japanese translation of their co-edited volume The Cambridge History of Canadian Literature.

The translation—entitled Kemburijji-ban Kanada Bungakshi—was published this past August as an 830-page volume, and took four years and 26 translators to complete, with Toshiko Tsutsumi, Takayasu Oya, and Ayako Sato as general editors.

The book connects Japanese audiences to a complete history of Canadian writing featuring works by Indigenous, francophone, and multicultural authors, including Japanese-Canadian writers. The foreword to the translation is jointly authored by Professor Kröller and Howells.


We are pleased to celebrate research in Canadian literature by and for Japanese scholars and students, and invite you to visit Canadian Literature’s archives for other works of Professor Eva-Marie Kröller:


Book Reviews

Editorials by Kröller

Articles by Kröller

For a complete list of Kröller’s works, please click here.


Editorial by Howells

Book Reviews by Howells

  • “Shadow Play” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Agency & Affect. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 223 (2014): 135-37.
  • “Imagination’s Life” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Letters & Other Connections. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 134 (1992): 158-159.
  • “In My Fashion” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Queerly Canadian. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 205 (2010): 189-190.
  • “Mythologizing History” by Coral Ann Howells Published in First Nations Writing. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 167 (2000): 149-151.
  • “Sketches, Fragments and Echoes” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Canadian Literature 154 (1997): 183-185.
  • “Writing Women” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Hispanic-Canadian Connections. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 142-143 (1994): 221-223.
  • “Dynamics of Memory” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Systems of Value, Structures of Belief. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 128 (1991): 182-183.
  • “Up in the Air” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Poets’ Words. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 115 (1987): 150-152.
  • “Acts of Survival” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Canadian Literature 206 (2010): 196-197.
  • “Context Is All” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Canadian Literature 206 (2010): 191-193.
  • “Writing Family History” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Context(e)s. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 195 (2007): 166-168.
  • “Surfaces and Secrets” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Canadian Literature 188 (2006): 158-159.
  • “Mythologizing History” by Coral Ann Howells and Judith Leggatt Published in Women & the Politics of Memory. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 186 (2005): 126-127.
  • “Bad News” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Writers Talking. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 183 (2004): 92-93.
  • “Regulated Anger” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Literature & War. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 179 (2003): 107-109.
  • “Double Vision” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Archives and History. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 178 (2003): 160-161.
  • “Canadian Panorama” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Archives and History. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 178 (2003): 161-162.
  • “Lest We Forget” by Coral Ann Howells. Published in Canadian Literature 173 (2002): 114-116.
  • “Wastelands” by Coral Ann Howells. Published in Female Subjects & Male Plots. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 137 (1993): 107-108.
  • “Imagining Native” by Coral Ann Howells. Published in Native Writers & Canadian Writing. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 124-125 (1990): 307-308.
  • “Women & Les Mots” by Coral Ann Howells. Published in Slavic and East-European Connections. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 120 (1989): 177-179.
  • “The Gaiety of Dread” by Coral Ann Howells Published in Poets & Politics. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 105 (1985): 165-166.
For a complete list of Howells’ works, please click here.

Online Store Updates

October 31, 2016

iSystem Simple Icon - Shopping Cart. Wikimedia Commons.

iSystem Simple Icon – Shopping Cart. Wikimedia Commons.

From November 2nd to 4th, our online store will be temporarily out of service for updates. Please contact can.lit(at)ubc.ca to process any subscription or issue orders.

We look forward to bringing you improved usability, and thank you for your patience!

Govenor General’s Literary Award for Fiction: Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing

October 27, 2016

There is a saying in Dutch: Never do you forget the language in which your mother loved you. For me, that language is English. Like many new immigrants, my parents raised my siblings and I to speak and think in the language of the new home. My mother watched in quiet curiosity as I hoarded books from the library. Like my sister’s daughter, who is now 11, I read at the breakfast table, in the car, on the bus, even while walking. She must have been certain that I dreamed in English because it was the only language that I had, and the one in which she had loved me.

—Madeleine Thien, “But, I dream in Canadian

Penguin Random House Canada

Penguin Random House Canada

Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing has won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. The novel follows “the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century” (from Random House Canada).

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is also a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Man Booker Prize, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. We are proud to congratulate Thien on this honour, and we invite you to visit Canadian Literature’s articles on and book reviews of her work:


Book Reviews