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 a 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

Shortlist for Canadian Literature’s 60th Anniversary Graduate Student Essay Prize

February 14, 2019

Canadian Literature is pleased to announce the shortlist of finalists for our 60th Anniversary Graduate Student Essay Prize, to be awarded as part of the journal’s anniversary celebrations taking place during Congress 2019 at UBC. The prize will be given to the best essay by an author who was a graduate student at the time of publication among the most recent 60 articles appearing in Canadian Literature—a corpus that includes two special issues on the work of emerging scholars. The prize has been established on the occasion of our anniversary to celebrate the future as we reflect on the journal’s history, and to signal Canadian Literature’s continuing commitment to supporting the work of graduate students. We hope in this way to recognize the significant contribution graduate student scholarship is making to the discourse of the journal and the field of Canadian literature.



Dallas Hunt
“Nikîkîwân: Contesting Settler-Colonial Archives through Indigenous Oral History”
Published in Indigenous Literature and the Arts of Comunity. 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.

Christina Turner
“Atlantic Cosmopolitanism in John Steffler’s The Afterlife of George Cartwright
Published in Emerging Scholars. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 226 (Autumn 2015): 55-72.


The winner will receive $500 and a subscription to the journal. A jury composed of former Canadian Literature editors W. H. New, Laurie Ricou, and Margery Fee will adjudicate the shortlist to select the winner. The prize will be presented at Canadian Literature’s 60th Anniversary reception to be held on Saturday, June 1, 7:00–8:30pm, at Green College, UBC.

ACQL Barbara Godard Prize 2018 Winner – Emily Bednarz

February 7, 2019

Canadian Literature is pleased to announce the publication of Emily Bednarz’s prize-winning essay “Assembling Urban Archives: Reading Daphne Marlatt’s Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now.” Emily is the 2017-2018 winner of the ACQL Barbara Godard Prize for Best Paper by an Emerging Scholar, a prize presented annually at the ACQL conference. Emily’s article is now available on our website. In it, she writes:

Given its malleable urban geography—its fluctuating sub/urban character witnessed over centuries of industrial development—the city of Vancouver is a place haunted by previous iterations of itself. Many Canadian poets over the past century have observed the city’s changing geographic, architectural, and industrial dynamics. This is perhaps most notable in Daphne Marlatt’s Vancouver collections, beginning with Vancouver Poems (1972) and on to the expanded and modified Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now (2013). While Marlatt’s texts, forty years apart, are thematically concerned with the way in which historical events shape the contours of urban space decades (even centuries) after they occur, Liquidities also echoes back to, or is haunted by, its first edition. Here I will not only trace Marlatt’s depiction of historical hauntings in urban space but I will also compare the editions of the texts as representative of such urban hauntings.

—Emily Bednarz, “Assembling Urban Archives: Reading Daphne Marlatt’s Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now

New Issue: Lost and Found #236

January 29, 2019

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature Issue 236, Lost and Found! Laura Moss’ editorial this issue is an advice column on how to increase your chances of publication in an academic journal. She writes:

As the editor of a journal, I’m often asked how people can increase their article’s chances of publication. Having served as editor (and acting editor) for five years now, I’ve read over a thousand readers’ reports and written many hundred decision letters. Over the course of adjudication of submissions, I’ve noticed patterns of omission and problem areas that are consistently noted across reports. I have learned what peers read for and where critical emphasis often lies in peer review. I also know that most academics occupy the double role of being both writers and evaluators. So, when I conceived of the idea for this editorial, I thought it would be useful to reach beyond my own observations and to consult my academic community. On Facebook, I asked my colleagues across fields for “useful tips/editorial feedback that you’ve been given or that you have given to others.” They, in turn, offered their advice (thus all the people quoted below shared their comments in that social media venue. I am grateful to all). Interestingly, almost all the comments were ones I have seen before in peer review readers’ reports. Such crowdsourcing loosely illustrates that while sub-fields may vary, what readers seem to value as publishable scholarship often shares certain features.

—Laura Moss, “An Editor’s Advice: How to Increase Your Chances of Publication in an Academic Journal

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Jennifer Harris, Emma Cleary, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andre Furlani, and Heather Macfarlane.
  • Poetry by Gillian Wallace, Lydia Kwa, A. F. Moritz, Franco Cortese, Angeline Schellenberg, and Sara Mang.
  • Reviews by Gisèle M. Baxter, Liza Bolen, François-Emmanuël Boucher, Stephen Cain, MLA Chernoff, Hilary Clark, Ryan J. Cox, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Susie DeCoste, Paul Denham, Greg Doran, Scott Duchesne, Stephen Dunning, Jeff Fedoruk, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Lydia Forssander-Song, Alexandre Gauthier, Jennifer Henderson, Suzanne James, Kyle Kinaschuk, Sarah-Jean Krahn, Zoë Landale, Dorothy F. Lane, Christine Lorre-Johnston, Shao-Pin Luo, Sarah MacKenzie, Krzysztof Majer, Linda Morra, Marcia Nardi, Tracy O’Brien, Claire Omhovère, Jane Elizabeth Parker, Olivia Pellegrino, Ryan Porter, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Jason Rotstein, Ralph Sarkonak, Neil Surkan, Cheryl Suzack, Yusuf Varachia, Carl Watts, and Lorraine York.
  • Opinions and Notes by Joseph Pivato and Robert Thacker.

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

Appel à contributions francophones

November 29, 2018

Chères lectrices, chers lecteurs de la revue Canadian Literature,

Vous le savez déjà, la revue Canadian Literature est une revue trimestrielle avec comité de lecture qui publie des articles en anglais et en français sur les littératures canadiennes. Depuis presque 60 ans, la reconnaissance de Canadian Literature n’a cessé de croître et lui vaut aujourd’hui de figurer au premier rang des publications dans sa discipline. Son engagement à l’égard des lettres se traduit par la publication de comptes rendus d’ouvrages critiques et d’œuvres de création, de poèmes, d’essais, de textes d’archives et d’entrevues d’auteurs. Récemment, nous avons reçu beaucoup plus de soumissions en anglais qu’en français, et je me permets ce petit mot pour souligner notre enthousiasme à recevoir des contributions écrites en français. Nous recherchons aussi des personnes intéressées à écrire des comptes rendus, car nous avons une belle bibliothèque de livres qui n’attendent que d’être recensés — ceux-ci incluent des romans, de la poésie, du théâtre, mais aussi des essais politiques, historiques, et même des livres pour enfants! Bien sûr, si vous avez en tête des titres que vous aimeriez suggérer, en littérature canadienne, québécoise, autochtone, acadienne, etc., nous accueillons avec grand plaisir de telles suggestions. Enfin, les fêtes approchent, quel plus beau cadeau qu’un abonnement à Canadian Literature? Ceux et celles qui aiment la littérature en seront ravis.

De la part de nous tous, ici, à Canadian Literature, nous vous souhaitons de joyeuses fêtes et au plaisir de vous lire en 2019, l’année de notre 60è anniversaire!

—Sarah Henzi, rédactrice en chef adjoint

Call for Papers: Decolonial (Re)visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

November 21, 2018

Special Issue: Decolonial (Re)visions of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and 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: Concepts of Vancouver: Poetics, Art, Media #235 (Winter 2017)

October 25, 2018

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 235 (Winter 2017), Concepts of Vancouver: Poetics, Art, Media, guest edited by Gregory Betts and Julia Polyck-O’Neil. They write:

Many of the authors in this collection pick up on this theme of contested space, uncertain and malleable borders, and generative tensions. . . . The consequences of this ongoing spirit of contest, this spirit of necessary caution, are manifold, entrenched by oscillating waves of lefist utopianism, centrist compromise, and rightist austerity. . . . We thus arrive at the lush plurality of a city with both ocean and mountains, tankers and pipelines, with links to Asia and Europe (yet insistently North American), colony and driver of the nation’s decolonial agenda. A city shaped by the expansion of neoliberal and imperial discourses met by generations of aesthetic communities increasingly attuned to the necessity (and seeming impossibility) of resistance.­­

—Gregory Betts and Julia Polyck-O’Neill, “Contesting Vancouver: Case Studies in a Cultural Imaginary

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Jamie Hilder, Mathieu J. P. Aubin, Felicity Tayler, Jason Wiens, Dani Spinosa, and Christopher Gutierrez.
  • Poetry by Chelene Knight, Dana Claxton, bill bissett, Ajmer Rode, Joseph Dandurand, and Jeff Derksen.
  • Reviews by Jennifer Baker, Sarah Banting, Gisèle M. Baxter, Britney Burrell, Laura Cameron, Warren Cariou, Sunny Chan, Eury Coling Chang, Karen Charkeson, Kit Dobson, Alicia Fahey, Margery Fee, Jon Flieger, Graham Nicol Forst, Sarah Galletly, Louis-Serge Gill, Patricia Godbout, Neta Gordon, Brenna Clarke Gray, Carla Harrison, Beverley Haun, Thomas Hodd, Evangeline Holtz, Crystal Hurdle, Suzanne James, David Johnstone, Anne L. Kaufman, Jan Lermitte, Andrea MacPherson, Dancy Mason, Shana Rosenblatt Mauer, Emily McGiffin, Kenneth Meadwell, Geordie Miller, Stephen Ney, Michelle Siobhan O’Brien, Catherine Owen, Malissa Phung, Conrad Scott, Emily Robins Sharpe, Dani Spinosa, Tracy Ware, Kailin Wright, and Robert Zacharias.

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

New Issue: Eclectic Mix #234 (Autumn 2017)

August 1, 2018

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 234 (Autumn 2017), Eclectic Mix! Nicholas Bradley writes in his editorial:

I ponder the notion that at the heart of teaching and learning, and of reading and writing, is a dance between forgetting and remembering. Literary scholarship is shaped in no small part by the limitations of scholars themselves. We aspire to expertise, and bear a professional obligation to know what is not generally known, yet there is always more to read, and our interpretative claims are governed by how little any one of us can remember, let alone truly comprehend. […] The articles in this issue of Canadian Literature are engaged in these
very processes of revisitation, reappraisal, and reckoning. For Kirsten Alm, the poetry of Robert Bringhurst and Tim Lilburn demands recognition of colonial injustices in North America, while for Ben Hickman, the poetry
 of Wayde Compton, Peter Culley, and Meredith Quartermain illustrates 
the complexity of establishing a sense of place in contemporary Vancouver. In order to understand familiar works differently, Robert David Stacey looks again at P. K. Page’s “After Rain,” Margaret Boyce at Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese, and Donna Pennee at Sara Jeannette Duncan’s The Imperialist. And Carrie Dawson shows how certain stories are misused in service of a comforting national narrative. These studies attest to the surprises that lie in store for attentive readers.

—Nicholas Bradley, “Surprise, Surprise”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Carrie Dawson, Donna Palmateer Pennee, Robert David Stacey, Ben Hickman, Margaret Boyce, and Kirsten Alm.
  • Poetry by Bola Opaleke, Changming Yuan, dee Hobsbawn-Smith, Rocco de Giacomo, David Eso, and Tom Wayman
  • Reviews by Tania Aguila-Way, Alyssa Arbuckle, Emily Ballantyne, Emily Bednarz, Gregory Betts, Magali Blanc, Myra Bloom, Natalie Boldt, Liza Bolen, Nicholas Bradley, David M. J. Carruthers, Paul Chafe, Lily Cho, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Laura K. Davis, Susie DeCoste, Jeff Fedoruk, Graham Nicol Forst, Stephanie Fung, Julian Gunn, Adam Hammond, Benjamin Hertwig, Shaina Humble, Crystal Hurdle, David Johnstone, Dorothy F. Lane, Stephanie L. Lu, Heather Macfarlane, Andrea MacPherson, Krzysztof Majer, Ryan Melsom, Tina Northrup, Neil Querengesser, Michael Roberson, Will Smith, Sylvie Vranckx, Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten, and Lorraine York.

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