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Cover of issue #218

Current Issue: #218 Of Borders and Bioregions (Autumn 2013)

Canadian Literature’s Issue 218 (Autumn 2013), Of Borders and Bioregions is now available. Guest edited by Anne Kaufman and Robert Thacker, the issue features articles by Tamas Dobozy, Laurie Ricou, Lisa Szabo-Jones, Magali Sperling Beck, and more.

News Archive

Alice Munro, Nobel Prize Winner 2013

October 18, 2013

Cover of Canadian Litertature issue #150

Congratulations to Alice Munro for winning the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature. Munro has been recognized as a master of the contemporary short story form on an international stage.

Canadian Literature published its first review of Munro’s work in 1969. Over the years, critics and reviewers have engaged actively with her work in our journal. In 1996, we published a special issue dedicated to Munro and Jane Urquhart.

Here is a list of all articles, reviews of Munro’s works, and reviews of scholarship on Munro’s writing published in Canadian Literature.


Book Reviews of Alice Munro’s Works

Reviews of Scholarship on Alice Munro’s Work

  • Craft & Critcism by Eva-Marie Kröller. #103 (Winter 1984): 128–129. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: Probable Fictions: Alice Munro’s Narrative Acts by Louis K. MacKendrick
  • Archives by Helen Hoy. #116 (Spring 1988): 203–205. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: The Alice Munro Papers: First Accession edited by J. Moore, A. Steele, and J. Tener
  • On Munro by Patricia Koster. #117 (Summer 1988): 166–167. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: The Art of Alice Munro: Saying the Unsayable by Judith Miller
  • Taking Sides by Catherine Sheldrick Ross. #132 (Spring 1992): 216–218. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro by Beverly J. Rasporich and A Sense of Style: Studies in the Art of Fiction in English-Speaking Canada by W. J. Keith
  • A Double Life by Beverly Rasporich. #138-139 (Autumn/Winter 1993): 148–149. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: Mothers and Other Clowns: The Stories of Alice Munro by Magdalene Redekop and Alice Munro: A Double Life by Shane Rhodes and Catherine Sheldrick Ross
  • Munro Tapes by Beverly Rasporich. #138-139 (Autumn/Winter 1993): 147–148. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: Interview with Alice Munro by The American Audio Prose Library and Alice Munro Reading The Progress of Love by The American Audio Prose Library
  • Ringing the Changes by Christine Somerville. #140 (Spring 1994): 130–132. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: Introducing Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women by Neil K Besner and Multiple Voices: Recent Canadian Fiction by Jeanne Delbaere
  • Monuments & Magpies by Christine Somerville. #148 (Spring 1996): 180–181. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: The Other Country: Patterns in the Writing of Alice Munro by James Carscallen
  • Gay Writing and Queer Theory by Helmut Reichenbächer. #149 (Summer 1996): 174–176. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: Meanwhile, in Another Part of the Forest: Gay Stories from Alice Munro to Yukio Mishima edited by Alberto Manguel and Craig Stephenson and Writing AIDS: Gay Literature, Language and Analysis edited by Timothy F. Murphy and Suzanne Poirier
  • Critical Vantage by Beverly J. Rasporich. #150 (Autumn 1996): 183–186. Reviews section PDF available. Review of: The Tumble of Reason: Alice Munro’s Discourse of Absence by Ajay Heble and The Crafting of Chaos: Narrative Structure in Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel and The Diviners by Hildegard Kuester
  • Introducing Oeuvres by Robert Thacker. #167 (Winter 2000): 124–126. HTML available. Review of: Alice Munro by Coral Ann Howell and Mavis Gallant by Danielle Schaub
  • Short Fictions by Kathryn Ready. #181 (Summer 2004): 161–163. HTML available. Review of: Reading in Alice Munro’s Archives by Joann McCaig and The Oxford Anthology of Raj Stories by Saros Cowasjee
  • Biographing Alice Munro by Héliane Ventura. #191 (Winter 2006): 128–130. HTML available. Review of: Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: a Biography by Robert Thacker
  • Editing Talent by Dee Horne. #205 (Summer 2010): 160. HTML available. Review of: Douglas Gibson Unedited: On Editing Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, W.O. Mitchell, Mavis Gallant, Jack Hodgins, Alistair MacLeod, etc. by Christine Evain

Opinions & Notes

Current Issue: #216 (Spring 2013)

October 16, 2013

Cover of issue 216 Canadian Literature’s Issue 216 (Spring 2013) is now available. This issue features articles by Sam McKegney (on Indigenous masculinity in Truth and Reconciliation Commission testimonials), Ryan Melsom (on queerness and nationalism in Douglas Coupland), Shaun Hanna (on Stephen Collis' The Barricades Project), Herb Wyile (on Jeff Derksen's Transnational Muscle Cars), Nathalie Dolbec (on Jacques Poulin's Volkswagen Blues), Andrew Lesk (on Maggie Helwig's Girl Fall Down), Brenda Carr Vellino and Sarah Waisvisz (on Daphne Marlatt's The Gull), and new Canadian poetry and book reviews.

Although I can’t be completely sure, it was likely April 1978 that Michael Taft and I drove to Batoche in my trusty VW Rabbit. There was still snow on the ground, for sure. One vivid memory is of coming to an ice bridge across the South Saskatchewan River; pickup trucks were bombing across it in sprays of slush. Signs warned, Use at your own risk. Michael wanted me to floor it across. I remember pointing out it was my car. I turned around and took another route with a real bridge. When we got to Batoche, there were no signs, only mailboxes along the road that bore the same names we saw in the graveyard. Six graves bearing the same Ukrainian last name were of children who had all died on the same day. The only other grave I remember was Gabriel Dumont’s, on which rested a slightly open package of Drum pipe tobacco. We peered through the windows of the church where Louis Riel declared his second provisional government in 1885 and found the bullet holes in the priest’s house. Then, after crunching around aimlessly in the snow for a while under a gray sky, we drove home.

—Margery Fee, Tourism in Saskatchewan.

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Deadline extended for Science & Canadian Literature CFP

September 25, 2013

The submission deadline for the Science & Canadian Literature call for papers has been extended to October 18, 2013.

We encourage original submissions exploring science as a topic in Canadian poetry and prose, science as literature, and other intersections between science and literature in Canada.

Please see the full call for papers for more details and suggestions.

All submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submission system at canlitsubmit.ca.

Judy Brown, 1954–2013

September 4, 2013

We are sad to announce the passing of our friend and colleague Judy Brown on September 1, 2013. Since 2005, Judy served as an associate editor at Canadian Literature. She was an award-winning teacher in the English Department at UBC and a dynamic editor at the journal. Her passionate commitment to the fields of Canadian Literature, Children's Literature, and Technical/Professional Writing was remarkable.

Judy will be remembered by us at the journal as an exceptionally kind and generous person who worked thoughtfully and compassionately. Jennifer Lin, one of our former co-op students who worked closely with Judy in her role as reviews editor reflected on her time with Judy, she seemed to have an aura about her; one that exuded warmth, patience, and care. As an associate editor, Judy was one of the best. Her diligence and expert eye for catching mistakes reflected strongly in her work. Associate editor Kathryn Grafton remembers her as calm, inviting, supportive, and thoroughly invested in students while editor Margery Fee remarked on Judy’s friendliness, kindness, and good cheer and added, over the years she contributed a huge amount to Canadian Literature. Associate editor Glenn Deer recalls that Judy was endlessly generous with advice and support. She was absolutely devoted to the welfare of her students during all of her years with us. Glenn recalls that her service to the department of English was so valued by former Canadian Literature editor Laurie Ricou that at a department meeting he bent down on one knee before her to demonstrate his heartfelt appreciation for her work. I worked with Judy on the review section for the past eight years and was always inspired by Judy’s quiet diligence, generosity, and care.

A few years ago, after she received the 3M Teaching Award in recognition of her outstanding work as a teacher, Judy said, If you’re looking for a life where you’re always going to be stretched, challenged, surprised, and inspired by your students, or at least be open to being inspired by your students, then this is a really good life to choose. Judy passed away after a life of inspiring students, colleagues, readers, and friends. She will be missed.

Laura Moss, Acting Editor

Canadian Literature 2012 Essay Prize

June 25, 2013

Winner: Meredith Quartermain. T’ang's Bathtub: Innovative Work by Four Canadian Poets. Spec. Issue 21st Century Poetics, ed. Clint Burnham and Christine Stewart. Canadian Literature #210/11 (Winter 2011): 116–132.


Honorable Mention: Annette Hayward. Littérature et politique au Québec pendant la première moitié du vingtième siècle: Prolégomènes. Spec. Issue Spectres of Modernism, ed. Dean Irvine. Canadian Literature #209 (Summer 2011): 68–88.

Judges: David Staines, U of Ottawa (chair), Louise Ladouceur, U of Alberta, and Faye Hammill, U of Strathclyde.

We are delighted to announce

Meredith QuartermainMeredith Quartermain has won this year’s Canadian Literature award for best article with T’ang’s Bathtub: Innovative Work by Four Canadian Poets. Quartermain describes herself as very much a full-time cultural worker. Her novel Rupert’s Land, her fifth book since 2000, is coming out this fall from NeWest Pess and she’s hard at work on another novel. She also runs Nomados Literary Publishers (designing, typesetting and producing chapbooks by other writers) and other cultural activities like the writing women’s network at Rhizome Café in Vancouver.

Annette Hayward won honorable mention for her essay Littérature et politique au Québec pendant la première moitié du vingtième siècle." She is an Emerita Professor of French Studies department at Queen’s University, whose work focuses on Quebec and French-Canadian literature, in particular the institution of literature and writing by women. She is currently doing research on the Anglo-Canadian critical reception of Quebec literature. Her book La querelle du régionalisme au Québec: Vers l'autonomisation de la littérature québécoise (2006) is a pioneering work, based on exhaustive research that still stands as a benchmark of reference. Its publication earned it the Prix Gabrielle-Roy as well as her first Governor General’s Award.

Judges’ comments on Quartermain:

They found the essay highly ambitious in its engagement with big ideas—the renewal of poetic language and the relationship between poetics and politics—but also hugely attentive to the detail and texture of the poetry and essays considered. The author evolves out of this a very persuasive argument against the idea that poetry must be politically purposeful. At the same time, she acknowledges the power of the language experiments of poets such as Jeff Derksen, Roger Farr, Erín Moure and Lisa Robinson, to begin to undo social controls binding them to social injustice. In sum, the essay was intelligent, convincing, and beautifully written.

Judges’ comments on Hayward:

It is quite a bold intervention, which sets out a very clear aim for itself and reaches an unambiguous and important conclusion: that there was no incompatibility between literary modernism and the old left in Quebec during the first half of the twentieth century (even though writers’ political orientations were often determined more by their milieu than by their literary tendencies.) This may appear too straightforward and definite a conclusion, but I think it is justified by the extensive evidence which is marshaled in this essay. Each example is outlined with remarkable conciseness and clarity, and Hayward also offers essential background detail on the political and literary history of early twentieth-century Quebec. These short contextual accounts are valuable in themselves—for instance I suspect that Anglophone scholars sometimes lose sight of the fact that a split between regionalists/nationalists and modernists/’exotic’ writers was just as much evident in Quebec as in English Canada. Substantial primary, secondary and archival research has informed this piece.

We thank the judges who assessed a set of four essays nominated by the associate editors from all the articles published in 2011, as well as the ACQL for letting us make the announcement at their annual prize reception.

Current Issue: #215 (Winter 2012)

May 30, 2013

Cover of issue 215Canadian Literature’s Issue 215 (Winter 2012) is now available. This special issue entitled Indigenous Focus features articles by Renate Eigenbrod, K. J. Verwaayen, Paul Murphy, Mareike Neuhaus, Angela Van Essen, Anouk Lang, an interview with Richard Van Camp by Sylvie Vranckx, Margery Fee’s editorial on The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and a collection of new poetry and book reviews.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is coming to Vancouver from September 18th to 21st, 2013. The University of British Columbia has suspended classes for a day while the commission is in session to allow faculty, staff, and students to attend. Why is the university taking such an exceptional step? Many Canadians—including UBC students—think Canada has treated Aboriginal people fair and square and that their land has come to us through official channels. Don’t they get special treatment in return for all that land? Only if you define special negatively, since even after Stephen Harper’s apology for the residential schools in 2008, the federal government continues to spend less—often much less—per capita on educating Aboriginal students than the provinces spend on non-Aboriginal students (Sniderman n. pag.). Given that history lessons have tended to focus on Sir John A. Macdonald and the railway rather than Louis Riel and the buffalo, it’s not surprising that many Canadians don’t know much about Indigenous peoples in Canada. If you read the guide for new Canadians—Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship—you will see that although Aboriginal people are now listed as one of the three founding peoples, there’s not much there that would help anyone understand the need for a TRC on Indian Residential Schools or the Idle No More movement, for that matter. And yet bureaucratic idling has been a very effective tool of colonization. The motto of the TRC is For the child taken, for the parent left behind. It might also add, for the Canadians kept in the dark.

—Margery Fee, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

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2012 Canadian Literature Essay Prize Nominees

April 3, 2013

The Canadian Literature Essay Prize is awarded annually to the best of the 24 or so articles we publish every year. We hope in this way to signal our eagerness to receive and recognize the best submissions in our field. We know that some readers are graduate students and junior academics looking for the best examples on which to model their own writing, and one goal of this award is to make it clear what our adjudicators (selected from the editorial team and the editorial board) think is the best. We know that to receive such an award from ones peers is always welcome, and we hope that the award will encourage those who win it to continue to produce their best writing.

—Margery Fee, editor


  • Alan Filewod, Authorship, Left Modernism and Communist Power in Eight Men Speak (#209, Summer 2011)
  • Annette Hayward, Littérature et politique au Québec pendant la première moitié du vingtième siècle" (#209, Summer 2011)
  • Karl Jirgins, Neo-Baroque Configurations in Contemporary Canadian Digital Poetics (#210/11, Autumn/Winter 2011)
  • Meredith Quartermain, Tang’s Bathtub: Innovative Work by Four Canadian Poets (#210/11, Autumn/Winter 2011)

More details.

Interview with Tamas Dobozy

March 28, 2013

Tamas DobozyWell, I always loved the reading it put me in touch with. It also gave me a view into the national academic community, which was larger and more varied than I would have imagined. I think the sheer variety of it was an inspiration—all these people working in all those areas, with new ones emerging, it seemed, by the day. When I started, Bill New had just handed over the journal to Laurie [Ricou], who I think ran it in an interim way until Eva-Marie [Kröller] showed up, and then she ran it while I was there. I loved that job, really, just being in the midst of those people, all fanatically dedicated to things I cared, and still care, about quite deeply. You need that as a writer and an academic, that sense of shared passion. It sustains you. Beyond that, I think it represented a cultural work we really need here in Canada, gathering up the shreds of a lot of disparate and sometimes isolated artistic projects and creating a repository or an archive where they come together in dialogue and are preserved for people down the road who’ll be able to glimpse back at our rituals and fixations in order to better understand and manage their own.

—Tamas Dobozy, on his time as a student assistant at Canadian Literature. Read the rest.

Current Issue: #214 (Autumn 2012)

March 27, 2013

Cover of issue 214Canadian Literature’s Issue 214 (Autumn 2012) is now available. The issue features articles by Germaine Warkentin (on Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism), Andrea King (on Anne Hébert’s Les fous de Bassan and Mary Novak’s Conceit), Joanne Leow (on the poetry of Wayde Compton), and Anne María Faile-Marcos (on Kim Barry Brunhuber’s Kameleon Man), and new Canadian poetry & book reviews.

Also in this issue is Thinking Together: A Forum on Jo-Ann Episkenew’s Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing. This special section includes writing by Susan Gingell, Deanna Reder, Allison Hargreaves, Daniel Heath Justice, Kristina Fagan Bidwell, and Jo-Ann Episkenew.

In November, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the year of our founding editor’s birth (see canlit.ca for more). Of course, George Woodcock’s life work consisted of far more than putting out seventy-three issues of a quarterly critical journal between 1959 and 1977. Alan Twigg’s remarks at the celebration focused on the remarkable success of the non-profit aid organizations founded by him and his wife Inge, for example. What interests me here, however, is how the journal is still shaped by his commitments. Somehow, I just never get around to reading all the back issues of the journal. What I’m basing my remarks on, then, is what has come down to me from working as an associate editor and editor and reading here and there about its history.

—Margery Fee, How Anarchist is Canadian Literature?

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Call for Papers: Science & Canadian Literature

February 22, 2013

In the three decades since the last science-themed issue of Canadian Literature appeared, much has changed in both literary and scientific circles. New literary theories have come to shape our critical conversations, new Canadian authors have emerged, publishing has been fundamentally changed with the advent of the Internet; at the same time, sheep have been cloned, food has been genetically modified, computers have shrunk to pocket size. And neither of these circles exists in isolation: each has affected the other, with differences that have made a difference (to borrow the language of ecologist Gregory Bateson) across the disciplinary boundaries. […more details…]

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