Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Emerging Scholars, Redux”

October 29, 2019

In the five years since the first call for our inaugural Emerging Scholars issue, both the world and the field of Canadian literature have changed. A climate emergency has been declared. There has been a global rise in dangerous and exclusionary forms of nationalism. There have been wars and humanitarian crises. Large-scale public protest has become the norm. There has been a spotlight on the pervasiveness of sexual violence, intimidation, and bullying. Social media has both helped create communities and become a place for sharp dissent. We seem to be living in a state of sustained urgency. Urgent times prompt us to want to hear from emergent voices. The submissions for the first two Emerging Scholars issues (226, 228/9) dynamically showed the state of the field five years ago. How are researchers who will shape the field and its future engaging with it today?

How do emerging scholars critically engage with works of fiction, drama, poetry, intermedia, memoire, creative nonfiction, or adaptation today. Whether through a lens of environmental, energy, public, or medical humanities, or by way of critical race, decolonial, migration, refugee, or gender studies, or any other approach, what are newer scholars contributing to contemporary scholarship? Why study the history of literature and the historical contexts of cultural production and reception today?

We again turn to people who are (relatively) new to the field to call attention to new work in the field of Canadian literature. This issue will highlight the work of Emerging Scholars and showcase the directions the field is taking. We welcome submissions on any topic in English or French from senior graduate students, postdocs, and those who might consider themselves to be Emerging Scholars (we place no time limit on this category).

We are actively seeking submissions for this issue NOW, so please help spread the word!

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 8th ed.). Word length for articles is 6,500-7,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.

Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of January 31, 2020. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at

Questions about the special issue may be directed to or

New Issue: Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings #238

October 4, 2019

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings. In her editorial, guest editor Eva Darias-Beautell reminds us of the original questions posed in the initial Call for Papers for this special issue: “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? Are there defining differences in the ways non-Canadian scholars approach CanLit? And how does transnational scholarship influence, challenge, enrich and rescale Canadian literary production?” She further elucidates the concept of “Rescaling CanLit”:

Rescaling in this sense means recontextualizing, establishing the value of Canadian writing on a different scale, shifting the site of reading to look at texts from new critical lenses. While 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 literal and metaphorical ways, the gaze is seldom reversed and little attention has been paid to the role of international scholarship in the current transformation of the field.

—Eva Darias-Beautell, “Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Simona Bertacco, Anna Branach-Kallas, Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Hsiu-chuan Lee, and Kristiana Karathanassis and Andrea King
  • Poetry by John Donlan, Chris Johnson, Sherry Johnson, Jake Kennedy, Shane Neilson, and Catherine Owen
  • Reviews by Zachary Abram, Joel Baetz, Emily Ballantyne, Alex Bellemare, Gregory Betts, Nicole Birch-Bayley, Myra Bloom, Natalie Boldt, Liza Bolen, Marie-Eve Bradette, Nicholas Bradley, Sunny Chan, Tim Conley, Paul Denham, Joel Deshaye, Jamie Dopp, Scott Duchesne, Margery Fee, Ryan Fitzpatrick, James Gifford, Patricia Godbout, Dominique Hétu, Nancy Holmes, Evangeline Holtz Schramek,Weldon Hunter, Renée Jackson-Harper, Suzanne James, Jenny Kerber, Daniel Laforest, Rebekah Ludolph, Jessi MacEachern, Kenneth Meadwell, Dana Medoro, Jean-Sébastien Ménard, Geordie Miller, Nathaniel G. Moore, Saghar Najafi, Catherine Owen, Olivia Pelegrino, Carl Peters, Richard Pickard, Catherine Rainwater, Madeleine Reddon, Michael Roberson, Laurel Ryan, Dani Spinosa, Neil Surkan, Dale Tracy, Véronique Trottier, Hilary Turner, Nathalie Warren, Carl Watts, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, Bart H. Welling, R. J. (Ron) Welwood, Kinga Zawada, and Suzanna Zelazo
  • Opinions and Notes by Tereza Virginia de Almeida

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

Statistically Speaking… Tracking CanLit Guides Traffic

September 9, 2019

Since we launched the 2018 Collection of our open-access educational resource CanLit Guides last May, we’ve seen a significant increase in engagement and readership in Canada and around the world.

[F]or an entirely online resource such as this, the most accessible and powerful tool at our disposal for gauging engagement is web analytics (Google), which offers a range of data sets that enable us to better understand how the site is being used, from where, on what platforms, in which languages, for how long, on what pages, and so on. It also helps us to see how trends develop over time as the content of the CanLit Guides evolves and as the interests amongst its users shift. In late April, we conducted an audit of some of our high-level web statistics for the ~11-month period since the May 2018 launch of the 2018 Collection. We then placed this data alongside the comparable prior-year period to see what we could learn. What story do the numbers tell?

Read here for Brendan McCormack’s summary illuminating noteworthy traffic changes of CanLit Guides.

Dionne Brand Wins 2019 Trillium Book Award

July 3, 2019

A huge congratulations to Dionne Brand for winning Ontario’s Trillium Book Award! Her book The Blue Clerk (McClelland & Stewart) was named the best English-language title in the province.


Image result for dionne brand blue clerkIn The Blue Clerk, award-winning poet Dionne Brand stages a conversation and an argument between the poet and the Blue Clerk, who is the keeper of the poet’s pages. In their dialogues—which take shape as a series of haunting prose poems—the poet and the clerk invoke a host of writers, philosophers, and artists, from Jacob Lawrence, Lola Keipja, and Walter Benjamin to John Coltrane, Josephine Turalba, and Jorge Luis Borges.

—from Penguin Random House Canada

The Blue Clerk was also a finalist for the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. As well, it was on the longlist for The League of Canadian Poets’ 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Brand’s poetry collection Land to Light On also won the Trillium Book Award in 1998.

We are proud to congratulate Brand on this honour, and we invite you to visit Canadian Literature’s articles on and book reviews of her work:



Book Reviews

See also CanLit Guides chapters on Dionne Brand’s works

2019 Scholarly and Research Communication Journal Innovation Award

June 7, 2019

Photo (from left to right): Emmanuel Hogg, President of the Canadian Association of Learned Journals / Donna Chin, Managing Editor / Rowly Lorimer, Editor of Scholarly and Research Communication

We have some great news to share! Canadian Literature has been awarded the 2019 Scholarly and Research Communication Journal Innovation Award for the CanLit Guides project, more specifically for the 2018 Collection of chapters. The award intends to recognize “new Canadian scholarly journal communication initiatives that are designed to increase the influence of a journal among readers and are noted by peers as significant. More generally, the award is intended to underline the creative and innovative contributions that scholarly journals make to effective and inspired scholarly communication.”

The CanLit Guides 2018 Collection was edited by Kathryn Grafton, Ceilidh Hart, Laura Moss, and Shannon Smyrl. Congratulations to the editors, the contributors, and the journal staff who worked together to make the innovations happen. The authors of the 2018 Collection include:

  • Sarah Banting
  • Shelley Boyd
  • Nathalie Cooke
  • Nadine Fladd
  • Brenna Clarke Gray
  • Ceilidh Hart
  • Tiffany Johnstone
  • Christine Kim
  • Lucia Lorenzi
  • Bronwyn Malloy
  • Sophie McCall
  • Brendan McCormack
  • Farah Moosa
  • Gillian Roberts
  • Shannon Smyrl
  • L. Camille van der Marel
  • Carl Watts

We were presented the award at the Canadian Association of Learned Journals AGM at Congress held at the University of British Columbia this past weekend. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of the new chapters one year ago at Congress 2018. For more information about the award, kindly visit

Winner of Canadian Literature’s 60th Anniversary Graduate Student Essay Prize

June 4, 2019

Congratulations Christina Turner!

Canadian Literature is pleased to announce the winner of the 60th Anniversary Graduate Student Essay Prize, awarded as part of the journal’s anniversary celebrations taking place during Congress 2019 at UBC. The winner is Christina Turner for her article “Atlantic Cosmopolitanism in John Steffler’s The Afterlife of George Cartwright” published in the Emerging Scholars special issue of Canadian Literature (no. 226, Autumn 2015, pp. 55-72). The prize is awarded to the best essay by an author who was a graduate student at the time of publication among the most recent sixty articles appearing in Canadian Literature—a corpus that includes two special issues on the work of emerging scholars.

Our thanks to past editors W. H. New, Laurie Ricou, and Margery Fee who served as the selection committee for the prize. The committee praised Christina Turner’s article for the quality of writing and the quality of organization. They note that Turner establishes her thesis early and allows the argument to unfold clearly, drawing as necessary on Steffler’s text, on Cartwright’s journal, and on existing research. The committee in particular applauded the way she reads the novel both for the implications of its formal strategies and in the context of international economic history.

The prize was established on the occasion of the journal’s anniversary to simultaneously reflect on the journal’s history and celebrate the future of the field. We also want to signal Canadian Literature’s continuing commitment to recognizing the significant contribution graduate student scholarship is making to the discourse of the journal and the field of Canadian literature.


Congratulations also to the wonderful shortlisted authors:

Dallas Hunt
“Nikîkîwân: Contesting Settler-Colonial Archives through Indigenous Oral History”
Published in Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 230-231 (Autumn/Winter 2016): 25-42.

Rebekah Ludolph
“Humour, Intersubjectivity, and Indigenous Female Intellectual Tradition in Anahareo’s Devil in Deerskins
Published in Literary History. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 233 (Summer 2017): 109-126.

Shane Neilson
Claire’s Head and Pain: Beyond the Sign of the Weapon”
Published in Emerging Scholars 2. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 228-229 (Spring/Summer 2016): 73-90.

Kate Siklosi
“‘the absolute / of water’”: The Submarine Poetic of M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!
Published in Emerging Scholars 2. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 228-229 (Spring/Summer 2016): 111-130.


Call for Papers Deadline Extension: “Decolonial (Re)visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror”

May 23, 2019

Deadline extended to July 1, 2019 from May 15, 2019.

Special Issue: Decolonial (Re)visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

Whether in outer space, an alternate universe, a haunted house, or a mythic time, the worlds built in genre fiction re-present and transform the colonial conditions of our shared and still incommensurable world. We seek contributions on Black Canadian and Indigenous work in the genres of SF, fantasy and horror. How, for example, do Black and Indigenous writers respond to the different positions colonialism historically imposed on those who were subjected to alien abduction versus alien invasion? How might genre fiction address relations with other racialized immigrant peoples? Possible themes: diaspora, critical utopias, futurity, haunting, Enlightenment critique, racial science.

Special issue editors: Lou Cornum, Suzette Mayr, and Maureen Moynagh

Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature‘s online submissions system OJS by the deadline of May 15, 2019. Questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit(at)

For more details about the special issue, visit our Calls for Papers page.

New Issue: House, Home, Hospitality #237

May 9, 2019

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature Issue 237, House, Home, Hospitality! Brendan McCormack’s editorial reflects on notions of house, home, and hospitality in this issue and over the journal’s history as we prepare to host celebrations of Canadian Literature’s sixtieth anniversary at Congress 2019. He writes:

Which brings me back home, to the house this journal’s pages started building six decades ago. How has the house become a home? How does Canadian Literature enact hospitality? Whom does it welcome as visitors? What conversations can it still productively host? How might it become a better guest? Where is its welcome worn, and when is it time to step away and listen? On one hand, these are practical questions of feasibility in a rapidly changing publishing landscape, particularly as the move to open access shifts the foundations of traditional publishing models. Like other journals, we are deeply invested in welcoming more visitors and subscribers, and in making the journal the kind of accommodating space that all sorts of scholars see as a valuable home for their work. On the other hand, these are ideological questions of responsibility for a journal such as this, whose creation in 1959 not only reflected the cultural nationalist climate that made its title possible, but helped support the institutional framework of a cultural formation, “CanLit,” that now appears so inhospitable, so unhomely, and for many always has been. . . . At this moment when CanLit is at once uninhabitable and ripe for rebuilding, it is incumbent upon its institutions—including its journals—to reimagine their hospitality and social relations.

—Brendan McCormack, “Be Our Guest

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Deanna Reder and Alix Shield, Aubrey Jean Hanson, Alec Follett, Jane Boyes, James Hahn, and Julie Cairnie.
  • Poetry by Pauline Peters, Hendrik Slegtenhorst, Sabyasachi Nag, Michael Penny, George Elliott Clarke, Tas Elizabeth Beck, Jessica Brown, and Dawn Macdonald.
  • Reviews by Angie Abdou, Alex Assaly, Paul Barrett, Guy Beauregard, Will Best, Magali Blanc, Natalie Boldt, Alexandra Bournelis, Marie-Eve Bradette, Nicholas Bradley, Olivia Burgess, Tim Conley, Joel Deshaye, Margery Fee, Shoshannah Ganz, James Gifford, Aubrey Jean Hanson, Evangeline Holtz, Brenda Johnston, Jan Lermitte, Denyse Lynde, Tanis MacDonald, Gabrielle Mills, Shane Neilson, Claire Omhovère, Kait Pinder, Eric Schmaltz, Monica Sousa, Dale Tracy, Véronique Trottier, Melanie Dennis Unrau, Sylvie Vranckx, Emily Wall, Chuan Xu, and Matthew Zantingh.
  • Opinions and Notes by Sharanpal Ruprai and Sheniz Janmohamed, and Shazia Hafiz Ramji.

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

Wayson Choy (1939-2019)

May 8, 2019

The staff at Canadian Literature pay tribute to the memory of Wayson Choy who died on Saturday, April 27th, 2019. He was featured in an early interview in a special issue of Canadian Literature on Asian Canadian Writing (issue 163, Winter 1999), but his history at UBC dates back to his time as a student in the early 1960s. Known as “Sonny Choy” by the other aspiring writers in the English classes at UBC in these formative years, (his class peers included Fred Wah, George Bowering, and Frank Davey), he was mentored by Earle Birney, Jan de Bruyn, and Jacob Zilber. His short story, “The Sound of Waves,” was published in Prism (a journal edited by de Bruyn and Zilber), and in The Best American Short Stories (1962). After several years of teaching at Humber College, Toronto, Choy took a sabbatical leave after the death of his mother in 1977: he returned to UBC and completed a creative writing seminar with Carol Shields. She prompted him to write a story with a randomly selected slip of pink paper. The resulting work, symbolically focused on a pink jade amulet shaped like a peony, provided the core motif that would eventually evolve into the popular novel The Jade Peony (1995). The Jade Peony was a co-winner of the 1995 Trillium Award in Ontario and the 1996 Vancouver Book Award. Other books that explore the intricate patterns of family history followed in the wake of this success: his Vancouver memoir Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood (1999) won the Edna Staebler Award for non-fiction; the sequel to The Jade Peony, All That Matters (2004), was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and won a Trillium Award; in 2009, he published another memoir that directly grappled with his own mortality and the special network of family support that was vital to his survival of a coma and heart attack, Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying. In 2015, Wayson Choy received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. A man of deep compassion and generous in sharing his advice, support, and wit with fellow writers and loyal readers, he will be deeply missed.

—Glenn Deer, Associate Editor


Left to right: Glenn Deer | Margery Fee, former Editor | Wayson Choy | Donna Chin, Managing Editor. (2012)


Links to articles and reviews of Wayson Choy’s works in Canadian Literature
Not Yet
By Wayson Choy
Reviewed in Writing to Defy Death by Maria Noëlle Ng
Published in Canadian Literature 206 (Autumn 2010): 136-138
Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood
By Wayson Choy
Reviewed in In-Between Souls by Eva-Marie Kröller
Published in Asian Canadian Writing. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 163 (Winter 1999): 179-180
The Jade Peony
By Wayson Choy
Reviewed in Myths of History by Guy Beauregard
Published in Canadian Literature 154 (Autumn 1997): 162-164
See also the CanLit Guides chapter on The Jade Peony


A Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Canadian Literature

March 21, 2019

Founded in 1959, Canadian Literature was the first quarterly journal devoted solely to the critical discussion of Canadian writers and writing. Since then, we’ve published thousands of articles, book reviews, and poetry in 236 issues. The journal is now read in 180 countries every year and has contributors from around the world as well. For the past sixty years, we’ve ranked as the leading journal in the field of Canadian literary studies.

With Congress 2019 being hosted at the University of British Columbia, it is the perfect opportunity to recognize the journal’s 60th anniversary. Join us in celebration of this important milestone with a public reading by innovative poets who are shaping the literary landscape in Vancouver and beyond.

Emceed by our poetry editor, Phinder Dulai, the reading will include Jordan Abel, Sonnet L’Abbé, Daphne Marlatt, Cecily Nicholson, and Shazia Hafiz Ramji.

A reception will follow with refreshments and a short program that honours the history of the journal, its contributors, and its creators. The 60th Anniversary Graduate Student Essay Prize will also be awarded.

The poetry reading and reception are free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 PM. We look forward to seeing you there.


June 1, 2019


Green College
6201-6205 Cecil Green Park Road
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z1


5:00 PM
Doors open

5:30–6:45 PM
Poetry Reading (Green College Coach House)

7:00–8:30 PM
Reception (Green College Piano Lounge)


Visit our Facebook Event page at