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

December 14, 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”

December 7, 2017

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.

New Poetry Editor, Phinder Dulai

November 24, 2017

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!

New Issue: Indigenous Literatures and the Arts of Community #230-231 (Autumn/Winter 2016)

September 14, 2017

 We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 230-231 (Autumn/Winter 2016), Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Community! Guest Editors Sam McKegney and Sarah Henzi write:

Indigenous literatures not only emerge from, depict, and address particular communities; they grapple with the meaning of community itself, while expanding our understandings of how communities might be imagined, lived, and sustained in pursuit of decolonial futures. Indigenous literatures don’t just represent communities; they

call communities into being. This special issue considers what Kristina Fagan Bidwell calls “the messy multiplicity of communities” as they manifest in Indigenous literature and its study. We invited Indigenous creative artists and scholars, along with settler, diasporic, and allied artists and scholars, to explore the relationships among (i) diverse expressions of Indigenous literary art, (ii) the myriad Indigenous (and other) communities out of which such art emerges and toward which it is directed, and (iii) the responsibilities embedded in such art’s ethical study. In this “Afterword,” we are interested in whether the ethics of community implied by the Indigenous Literary Studies Association’s support of the “ongoing production of Indigenous literatures” are in fact commensurate with those implied by its advancement of “the ethical and vigorous study and teaching of those literatures”—in other words, whether “community” means the same thing(s) in creative and critical contexts; if it doesn’t, we wonder if maybe it should and whether this might be the direction in which the Indigenous literary arts are, in fact, guiding us.

—Sam McKegney and Sarah Henzi, “Indigenous Literatures and the Arts of Community: Editors’ Afterword

This double issue also features:

  • An Opening Note by Daniel David Moses
  • Articles by Dallas Hunt, Michele Lacombe, Max Karpinski, Lianne Moyes, June Scudeler, Pauline Wakeham, Keavy Martin, Brandon Kerfoot, Sophie McCall, Sarah Henzi, and Judith Leggatt
  • Extraordinary Poetry by Janet Rogers, Sharron Proulx-Turner, Jordan Abel, angela semple, Garry Gottfriedson, Shannon Webb-Campbell, Armand Garnet Ruffo, annie grace ross, Sonnet L’Abbé, and Dani Spinosa
  • Reviews by Lourdes Arciniega, Alison Calder, Susie DeCoste, Jeff Fedoruk, Graham Nicol Forst, Rebecca Fredrickson, Evangeline Holtz, Madelaine Jacobs, Suzanne Jacobs, Kyle Kinaschuk, Ariel Kroon, Tina Northrup, Catherine Rainwater, Michael Roberson, Dale Tracy, and Paul Watkins

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

Littératures autochtones et traduction

September 12, 2017

Un nouveau souffle vient agrémenter les corpus anglophones et francophones de la littérature autochtone — et ce grâce à la traduction. Depuis quelques années, notons plusieurs traductions d’œuvres d’écrivains autochtones anglophones maintenant disponibles en français, publiées chez Mémoire d’encrier et Hannenorak. Notons, par exemple : La guerre des fleurs de Domingo Cisneros, Nous sommes les rêveurs de Rita Joe, Ballades d’amour du North End de Katherena Vermette, La force de marcher de Wab Kinew et Paix, pouvoir et droiture de Gerald Taiaiake Alfred. De façon similaire, la maison d’édition Mawenzi a publié, en traduction anglaise, le premier recueil de Joséphine Bacon, Message Sticks, et deux recueils de Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Do Not Enter My Soul in Your Shoes et Assi Manifesto; Arsenal Pulp Press, Kuessipan de Naomi Fontaine; et, tout récemment, Winter Child de Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau, par Freehand Books. Mentionnons aussi des recueils bilingues Languages of Our Land/Langues de notre Terre (Banff Press) ou Terres de Trickster/Lands of Trickster (Possibles Éditions). Ainsi, un nouveau dialogue au-delà des frontières linguistiques s’établit enfin, et les intéressés de la littérature autochtone ont accès à un véritable corpus transnational.

Margery Fee, Lucie Hotte, and Lorraine York named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

September 7, 2017

Congratulations to Margery Fee, past Editor of Canadian Literature (2007-2015), who has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) in recognition of her outstanding contributions to scholarship in Canadian and Indigenous studies. Fee joins previous editors Laurie Ricou (2003-2007; elected FRSC 2006), Eva-Marie Kröller (1995-2003; elected 2006), W. H. New (1977-1995; elected 1986), and George Woodcock (1959-1977; elected 1968, resigned 1974) who have also received the same honour.

Two members of Canadian Literature’s Editorial Board have also been named among the Class of 2017. Lucie Hotte (Département de français, University of Ottawa) and Lorraine York (Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University) were elected Fellows in the Division of the Humanities of the RSC’s Academy of the Arts and Humanities for their exceptional contributions to Canadian literary and cultural studies.

Congratulations to Dr. Fee, Dr. Hotte, and Dr. York for receiving the highest national honour for scholars in the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences in Canada. The induction ceremony for the RSC’s Class of 2017 will take place in Winnipeg on November 24.

The Royal Society’s news release and a full list of this year’s Fellows are available here.

Disappearing Moon Cafe: A Virtual Field Trip

May 30, 2017

Sepia toned shot of the entrance to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park. Taken by UBC Studios 2017.


See Chinatown from a brand new perspective! This interactive collection of photospheres provides 360° views of the famous Vancouver neighbourhood. Through an immersive digital experience, the field trip highlights key settings in SKY Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café, featuring commentary about the novel and reflections on Chinatown by the author.

This virtual tour supplements Canadian Literature’s special issue Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation, guest edited by Chris Lee and Christine Kim, and was motivated by NeWest Press’ second reprint of this seminal novel.

An unflinchingly honest portrait of a Chinese Canadian family that pulses with life and moral tensions, this family saga takes the reader from the wilderness in nineteenth-century British Columbia to late twentieth-century Hong Kong, to Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Intricate and lyrical, suspenseful and emotionally rich, it is a riveting story of four generations of women whose lives are haunted by the secrets and lies of their ancestors but also by the racial divides and discrimination that shaped the lives of the first generation of Chinese immigrants to Canada.

NeWest Press on Disappearing Moon Café

This project has been created with the generous support of UBC’s Asian Canadian and Asian Migration program, UBC Studios, and NeWest Press. Special thanks to Christy Fong, Christopher Aitken, Szu Shen, and Brooke Xiang for their work on this tour. Please note that older browsers and operating systems may have difficulties rendering the field trip.


Special Promotion: Canadian Literature issues 230/231, 228/229, and 227—now with goodies!

May 16, 2017

We are excited to announce a special promotion for Canadian Literature’s upcoming issue #230/231: the first thirty pre-orders for the issue will include a complimentary button to celebrate its publication! We will also be including complimentary buttons for the next thirty orders of issue 228/229, Emerging Scholars 2, and the next thirty orders of issue 227, Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation. At 1.75’’ by 2.75’’, these “mini issues” are a perfect replica of each issue’s cover, and can be attached to backpacks, purses, shawls, and more.

Issue 230/231, Indigenous Literatures and the Arts of Community, is guest edited by scholars Sam McKegney and Sarah Henzi. This double issue is slated to be published later this year.

Issue 228/229, Emerging Scholars 2, our newest published issue, is a double issue filled with the articles and poetry of Canadian literature’s finest up-and-coming scholars. Editor Laura Moss introduces this issue:

In the pages of a journal whose name implies a cultural nationalist mandate, given the current political climate, it is important to consider what is done in the name of nationalism, to scrutinize exclusionary, and often dangerous, paradigms, and to think about what role Canadian writers and critics have had and continue to have in resistance, protest, and activism. How have they been killjoys?

—Laura Moss, “Notes from a CanLit Killjoy”

Issue 227, Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation, was guest edited by scholars Christopher Lee and Christine Kim. Of the issue, they write:

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.

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

To take advantage of this special promotion, please click here to pre-order issue 230/231, or head to our online store to order issues 228/229 or 227. Remember, there are only 30 “mini issue” buttons available for each issue!


Canada Reads 2017 Winner

May 2, 2017

We are pleased to congratulate André Alexis on winning Canada Reads 2017 for his novel Fifteen Dogs! Since its inception in 2002, the program has invited academic interest from many publications, Canadian Literature included. Editor-in-chief Laura Moss asks:

Why is it imperative that we, those who work on and in Canadian literature, take [Canada Reads] seriously? As a public presentation of a literature that is depicted as coming of age, Canada Reads has helped to open up Canadian literary works to a large market. Over the three years, it has brought eighteen writers’ names into prominence in the public domain. (Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel are listed twice.) It has become an important indicator of public support of the literary arts in Canada.

—Laura Moss, Canada Reads in Canadian Literature 182

With these assertions in mind, we published a special issue on the program in 2007. Other critical works on Canada Reads from our journal include:

We invite you to take a look at the critical works that have been published on this annual battle of the books, as well as our review of the winning novel by Hilary Turner. Happy readings!

Second Edition Launch for the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles

April 25, 2017

Loonie and toque are familiar Canadianisms, but have you heard of aegrotat, tillicum, or bunny hug?

Stefan Dollinger and Margery Fee

The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP-1) was first published in 1967, on the anniversary of Confederation. Fifty years later, Stefan Dollinger (editor-in-chief) and former Canadian Literature editor Margery Fee (associate editor), both professors in the UBC Department of English, have launched a revised and updated edition of the Dictionary (DCHP-2). This revision includes the legacy data of the first edition, along with new twentieth- and twenty-first-century terms and definitions to highlight the changes over time. And just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary!

From the press release:

This new edition (DCHP-2) is the result of the work of a team of UBC linguists of English over 11 years and explains, for 1239 meanings for the first time, why a given meaning is Canadian (in 1103 cases) and why not (in 136 cases). Words such as garburator, parkade, and eh are explained in accessible language based on precise data, such as newly discovered and less-widely known Canadianisms, e.g. idiot string, take up a test etc. or to table (legislation) etc. In addition to the 10,974 entries taken over from DCHP-1, DCHP-2 offers information on some 12,000 Canadian words, meanings and expressions, past to present.

For more information about the project and to browse the open access dictionary, please see the website. Happy searching!